Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Casal, Paris final, 1986


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Sergio Casal 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(3) in the Paris final, 1986 on carpet

This was the first of Becker's eventual 3 titles at the event. Casal was a qualifier who beat John McEnroe and Tim Mayotte among others to reach the final

Becker won 107 points, Casal 92

Casal serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve, Becker majority of the time

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (55/96) 57%
- 1st serve points won (49/55) 89%
- 2nd serve points won (18/41) 44%
- Aces 22 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (37/96) 39%

- 1st serve percentage (63/103) 61%
- 1st serve points won (46/63) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (17/40) 43%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (23/103) 22%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 2%

Casal served...
- to FH 20%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 17%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 76 (17 FH, 59 BH), including 5 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 12 Forced (1 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (76/99) 77%

Casal made...
- 55 (20 FH, 34 BH, 1 ??)
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 11 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (55/92) 60%

Break Points
Becker 4/11 (6 games)
Casal 1/6 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 33 (12 FH, 8 BH, 7 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH, 1 BHOH)
Casal 26 (4 FH, 6 BH, 6 FHV, 4 BHV, 6 OH)

Becker had 10 from serve-volley points
- 7 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 3 FH at net, 1 BH at net)... the BH at net was a drop shot
- 3 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 OH, 1 BHOH)... the FHV was diving shot

- 2 from return-approach points (2 BHV)

- FHs - 4 cc (1 return pass), 4 dtl (2 passes) and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 3 dtl (1 pass), 2 inside-out passes (1 return)

Casal had 14 from serve-volley points
- 7 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 2 OH, 1 FH at net, 1 BH at net)... 1 OH can reasonably be called a FHV
- 7 second volleys (2 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH)

- FHs - 2 dtl (1 return pass) and 1 inside-out
- BHs (all passes) - 1 cc, 3 dtl (1 return) and 1 lob

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 39
- 21 Unforced (12 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV)
- 18 Forced (9 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.1

Casal 33
- 17 Unforced (3 FH, 7 BH, 6 FHV, 1 BHV)... with 1 BH at net
- 16 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.4

(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
Becker was...
- 32/43 (74%) at net, including...
- 19/24 (79%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 17/20 (85%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/4 (50%) off 2nd serve
- 4/5 (80%) return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Casal was...
- 47/68 (69%) at net, including...
- 38/54 (59%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 retreated

Match Report
Well played match by both players. Becker has bigger serve, hits his spots with them uncannily, is more powerful from the back and has an approaching trick in reserve to put himself comfortably over on a fast-ish court

Casal serve-volleys off all but 1 first serve and not at all off seconds. Boris serve-volleys randomly off first serves - hardly at all in first set, more often than not after that - in total 63% off the time and throws in odd surprise one off second serves (in all, 11% off the time)

So virtually all second serve points and some of Boris' firsts start baseline-to-baseline. Boris takes the aggressive role by hammering FHs. His play of that side is beat-down of style, not outlasting. Off BH, both players slice a lot, with ball staying low. Boris hammers the odd BH too

Excellent numbers in play for both. Boris has 12 more winners than UEs, Casal 9. Throw in errors forced, Boris is net +28, Casal +27

The big difference? Boris bangs down 22 aces and 2 service winners. Casal has 5 and 3 respectively. Boris' rate of serving an ace/service winner is exceptionally high 23/55 or 42% off his first serves. Casal's figure is 13%. Sans the unreturnable serves, return consistency is about even, with Boris drawing more weak returns he can dismiss at once. he has 4 groundstroke at net winners on the first 'volley' and blasts point ending groundies from the back too

I would say Boris is the stronger returner but that's confounded by his facing less strong opposition. Casal is rarely threatening with the return and often can just poke it back in play. Boris stretches and pokes back strong wide serves too, gets some strong meaty ones off against serve-volleying and is able to return-approach (usually a hard hit shot, not chip-charge). But with huge discrepancy in unreturnable serves, it seems likely Becker's superiority in return is based primarily on difference in serving strength. Very good job by Casal to keep return errors to just 13. Anything short of unreturnable, Casal's returning consistency is commendable. His problem is there's a very, very large number of unreturnables

Becker's Serve & Serve-Volleying
Remarkable spot serving from Boris to knock down his 22 aces and 2 service winners. The court isn't that fast... note Boris' unreturned rate of 39% (with 42% first serves being unreturnable, you'd expect near 50%) and Casal, who also has big serve, manages 22%. Power hitting from the back isn't unduly forceful. To get that many aces, Boris hits lines just so. Apart from Boris' aces, the match would be a return-based one

His service motion is different from what it would come to be. The 2nd serve looks like a frog hopping up and leaning towards falling on its back on the way down

Casal is consistent on the return but not threatening against either serve. Other than Becker's aces, which are just too good, he returns at 81%. Plenty of strong serves besides the aces and Boris' second serves are hefty too... good job returning from Casal

When Becker serve-volleys, he rarely faces a difficult first volley and often easy ones. And does the needful - just the 1 volley UE. In fact, 3 FEs seems high given how few tough volleys he faces. Humongous 79% points won serve-volleying
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Hall of Fame
Play Baseline
Playing from baseline, Boris pounds FHs either cc (he has 3 such winners) or sweeps around to make room for inside-out shot (just the 1 winner, but beats down Casal's BH). Casal can't match his power and in FH rallies, plays reactively and looks to resist being beat down. As match wears on, he's able to keep things more BH-BH

BH rallies are usually, low slicey ones, with good number tossed out extra wide. Tricky to handle and honours are about even. Boris also pounds the occasional drive BH

Boris' 48.1 UEFI is high given there's just 1 volleying UE. He misses 7 winner attempts (Casal misses 6 - and he has 8 'volleying' UEs). Boris neutral FHs are also much harder hit than Casal's. he has 11 neutral UEs to Casal's 6, but Boris with much heavier shot

Boris has 20 groundstroke UEs to Casal's 9, but he also leads winner 8-2, forces more errors and Casal's UEs are beatdown of nature. On whole, Boris the better the baseliner - taking charge with FH and rallying about evenly off BH. Casal looks like a BH preferring player, but its his FH that's most secure shot with match low 3 UEs (next best are 7 and 8), partially because he's passive with it which in turn is because Boris' harder hit shots push him to it

Neither player looks to come to net from rallying. It would be difficult for Casal to do so off FH as he's pushed back. Both players keep their BH slices low, but there's scope there to look to come in if one is inclined. Casal doesn't seem to be. Neither does Boris, who looks happy to hammer FHs and slice away from BH. He takes to manufacturing approaches - not coming in after overpowering Casal - on important points and excels there. 9/15 points won coming in from rallying is under-valuing his efficiency, with 2-3 of those points being hopeless, forced approaches. It seems more like Boris will win whenever he comes to net

Casal's Serve & Serve-Volley
Casal's a big guy with a big serve himself and follows all but 1 first serve to net. In that light, 22% unreturned rate is low. Credit Boris for on the return. He never gives less than full effort to trying to make the return

Some sloppy volleying from Casal and his 8 forecourt UEs include some putaway balls. When he makes the volley, he gets them deep and pushes them through reasonably but doesn't get them too far from Boris. And doesn't bother much about volleying to a particular side. Boris has 9 FH FEs to 6 BHs, almost all of which would be passing shots. If anything, it looks like he targets Boris FH, which is unusual and at odds with both default norms and Boris' strengths. He does better as match wears on and he shifts a bit more to volleying to BH

Like with the return, Boris makes full effort on the pass. He's running all over the place to chase them down. In years to come, Boris' passing would often have an erratic, blast-them-make-some-miss-some feel to it. Here, he's hitting hard but with greater control

Match Progression
Casal opens match by missing 2 putaway FHVs and adds a double fault couple points later. He saves 2 break points before a typical, Becker BH inside-out return pass winner brings up another break point. On this one, Casal misses a simple BH

No more breaks in the set. Becker thoroughly dominates his serve games. He wins all 17 first serve points, a run extends to 23 in the second set. He rarely serve-volleys, bangs down plenty of aces (usually not looking to serve-volley of those either) and looks for big, third ball FHs

Boris dominate second set. First break comes on back of running BH dtl pass winner, a masterful 1-2 ending with BH cc winner and finally, forcing a FH1/2V error. There are 3 winners in last game of set too, when Becker breaks again. He's taken to serve-volleying more and wins 11/12 first serve points in the set

Crowd are significantly pro-Casal all match, beyond rooting for underdog or for guy who's behind degree. Is there a particular reason for his popularity in Paris? He moderately expresses frustration several times with Boris' aces, the kind of things Paris crowds tend to get on a players case over. They don't for him

Casal has better of the third set. He breaks at once to open, finishing with a strong FH inside-out return that gives him control of point which he ends with FHV winner. Its the first game he's seen a break point in and he gives a triumphant gesture on sealing it. He'd previously taken to expressing his frustration moderately at Boris' aces

Boris gains the break back late in the set, pushing towards it with a couple of net points and Casal finishes the job for him with a couple of errors later, Boris has to save break points in 2 other games also

Boris though takes charge of the tiebreak, winning his first return point with a BH inside-out pass winner, set up by FH dtl return that forced a weak half-volley. Casal gains the mini-break back with a wonderful BH lob, but Becker takes 2 more return points with return-approaches to wrap up the match

Some excellent and memorable plays in the match from Boris. He manages to to make a half-volley between his legs after a net chord completely throws of his intended shot, but goes onto lose the point. He wins a point by forcing a volleying error after being run side to side. There's a typical diving FHV winner and an exquisite short sliced return + BH cc pass winner 1-2

Summing up, well played match from both players. Becker's serve is just too big for Casal much of the time. Casal also serves hard and Becker does very well to get reasonable number of strong returns off. The difference in serve-return complex trickles down to court action - Becker having easier volleys, better shots on the pass, more commanding starting position in baseline rallies - and he nurses those advantages through, saving coming to net for important points

Stats for '89 & '90 finals between Becker and Stefan Edberg -