Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Chang, Australian Open final, 1996


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Michael Chang 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the Australian Open final, 1996 on hard court

This was Becker's 6th and final Slam title and it came 5 years after the last one, which had been at the same venue

Becker serve-volleyed on all his first serves and frequently on his seconds

Becker won 113 points, Chang 105

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (52/103) 50%
- 1st serve points won (44/52) 85%
- 2nd serve points won (27/51) 53%
- Aces 11, Service Winners 4 - including 1 second serve
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/103) 32%

- 1st serve percentage (55/115) 48%
- 1st serve points won (41/55) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (28/60) 47%
- Aces 11, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (39/115) 34%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 41%
- to BH 52%
- to Body 7%

Chang served....
- to FH 43%
- to BH 57%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 70 (32 FH, 38 BH), including 5 runaround FHs and 20 return-approaches
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 15 Unforced (9 FH, 6 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt and 1 return-approach attempt
- 11 Forced (7 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (70/109) 64%

Chang made...
- 63 (26 FH, 37 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 6 Winners (3 FH, 3 BH)
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 17 Forced (9 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (63/96) 66%

Break Points
Becker 5/23 (11 games)
Chang 2/7 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 32 (6 FH, 1 BH, 9 FHV, 9 BHV, 7 OH)
Chang 22 (7 FH, 11 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)

Becker had 14 from serve-volley points
- 7 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH, 1 BH @ net)
- 5 second 'volleys' (1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH, 1 FH @ net)
- 2 third volleys (1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 5 from return-approach points (4 FHV, 1 BHV)

- FHs - 3 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in

Chang had 13 passes (5 FH, 8 BH)
- the FHs - 2 cc (1 return), 2 dtl and 1 lob
- the BHs - 2 cc, 4 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-in return and 1 lob

- 2 non-pass FHs - 1 dtl and 1 return longline

- 3 non-pass BHs - 1 cc, 1 return dtl and 1 @ net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 36
- 26 Unforced (7 FH, 14 BH, 5 FHV)
- 10 Forced (1 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.3

Chang 43
- 11 Unforced (5 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV)
- 32 Forced (12 FH, 19 BH, 1 FHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.2

(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 69/93 (74%) at net, including 44/54 (81%) serve-volleying - off first serves 32/40 (80%), off seconds 12/14 (86%) - and 13/20 (65%) return-approaching
He was 2/2 when forced back

Chang was 8/17 (47%) at net, including 0/1 serve-volleying - a first serve point - and 3/4 (75%) return approaching

Match Report
A polished performance from Boris Becker - "polished" not being the first word I usually associate with him. He seems to know exactly what he wants to do at all times and mostly, does it

Becker races out to a 4-0 lead to start the match and has 2 break points to make it 5-0. On serve, he relies on serve-volleying off the first serve - not easy on this slow court - while on return, he utilizes an array of return-approaches (mostly chip-charges). Chang, who is serving at a low percentage hovering under 50% at this point, is put in a dilemma. He wants to avoid going to Becker's powerful FH on second serves, but anything to the BH is being chip-charged

Becker also returns Chang's first serve exceptionally well, serves big himself and is savvy off the ground. He moves Chang around with slices and pseudo-drop shots. In the first set, Boris has no UEs in play, no groundstroke winners but forces 8 errors from Chang (mostly via groundstrokes) while only being forced into 3 himself

The German continues to press Chang in the second set, but the American starts fighting back. At one point, he hits a lob return winner over the serve-volleying Becker. I'm not sure if it was an accident - it isn't obvious that that is the case, though one imagines it was. He adds two more return winners in the next three points to bring up his first break points, which he can't convert. Becker though continues to attack relentlessly and remains looking more likely to break than be broken. He finally does in the penultimate game of the set in a thrilling point.

Becker chip-charges the return but is forced back from net. He comes in again off a weak approach shot, leaving Chang with a step-in sitting duck pass. Chang executes well enough, but Becker reflex volleys a winner to secure the break. A good example of why directing passing shots at the volleyers body is a good idea - much less chance of a lucky, low percentage reflex volley getting through (and it gives the volleyer something else to think about next time)

At the start of the third, Becker starts return-approaching even against the first serve and seems more willing (and as it turns out, capable) of doing so even from his FH. Chang holds off 2 break points in the opening game and then boldly, decides to fight fire with fire. Chang hits back to back return-approaches himself.

The first of these is against a very good body serve and its astounding how Chang managed to return-approach off of it. The next is against a first serve! - which Chang would have known Becker would be serve-volleying behind. Boris is upto keeping cool and putting away a second volley winner, after the pair trade volleys nose to nose at net. One hears stories about Rod Laver making plays like this... its not something Michael Chang is renowned for though

He's continues pressuring Boris - there's a swashbuckling return winner later in the game and Boris double faults as Chang is advancing during the service motion. Boris eventually doubles again to yield the break. After this game of pyrotechnics, Chang settles to hold serve more comfortably than he had been doing and breaks to love to seal the set. The last two points are both BH return winners - the first an inside-in pass the second a regular dtl

There's some thrilling stuff in the fourth as well. In the first game, Becker forces Chang to net with a drop shot which the American is able to hit powerfully. But an at net Becker is able to deftly touch BHV it away for a winner. Later in the set, Becker is forced to weakly volley a thunderous Chang return and the American steps in to take a cracking swinging volley from about half-way between baseline and serviceline. Becker guesses right and manages to volley away the winner off it.

Chang is at his most intense in this set... and runs down some seemingly impossible to reach balls. But Becker remains cool and is usually at net to pick off these gallant but ultimately in vain efforts. Becker mostly holds comfortably - which is a credit for his handling Chang's powerful returns and groundies well. He secures the first break without utilizing net play, but is makes his way to the forecourt 4/10 (won all 4, though forced back once) times in gaining the second

Summing up, excellent stuff from Boris Becker. He serves well, volleys splendidly and with great touch. From the baseline, his FH is powerful and his BH has great variety and is critical in moving Chang around - sideways and front to back. He makes plenty of returning errors - 15 unforced - largely a product of being too aggressive and at times, his footwork is shoddy

Chang for his part plays very solidly for all but the first set, returns and passes surely. Becker's too good in the forecourt on the day though. On a slow court, Chang's general strategy of playing consistently was probably a sound one and he is impressive in stepping up the aggression in the third set when things weren't going his way.

Ultimately though, Becker just too good - a consummate performance from the German
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Match with simply perfect tactic - and it was a very hot day, not Beckers favor. He could have won this easily in three sets but missed a lot of his break points.