Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Edberg, Basel quarter-final, 1995

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Stefan Edberg 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in Basel quarter-final, 1995 on indoor hard court

Becker would withdraw before his semi-final match. He would win the Year End Championship shortly afterwards

Becker won 81 points, Edberg 79

Becker serve-volleyed of all first serves and most seconds, Edberg serve-volleyed off all but 2 first serves and but 2 seconds

(Note: I'm missing 1 Becker first serve, which commentary indicates was an ace. It has been so marked. Serve direction is unknown
Missing point - Set 3, Game 7, Point 1)

Serve Stats
Becker...
- 1st serve percentage (52/88) 59%
- 1st serve points won (40/52) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (20/36) 56%
- Aces 11, Service Winners 4
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (35/86) 41%

Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (45/72) 63%
- 1st serve points won (35/45) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (16/27) 59%
- Aces 5 (2 second serves)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/72) 46%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 39%
- to BH 54%
- to Body 7%

Edberg served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 11%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 38 (12 FH, 26 BH)
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 28 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (3 FH)
- 25 Forced (6 FH, 19 BH)
- Return Rate (38/71) 54%

Edberg made...
- 48 (17 FH, 31 BH), including 7 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 17 Forced (8 FH, 9 BH), including 1 return-approach
- Return Rate (48/83) 58%

Break Points
Becker 2/2
Edberg 1/5 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 17 (6 FH, 4 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
Edberg 26 (3 FH, 5 BH, 12 FHV, 2 BHV, 4 OH)

Becker had 7 from serve-volley points
- 3 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 FH at net)
- 4 second volleys (1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)… 1 BHV was a lob that was actually well out but went uncalled

- FHs (all passes) - 2 cc (1 return), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out return and 1 running-running-down-drop-volley dtl at net
- BHs (all passes) - 3 cc (2 returns) and 1 dtl

Edberg had 16 from serve-volley points
- 8 first volleys (6 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 8 second volleys (5 FHV, 3 OH)

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

- FHs (all passes) - 2 cc (1 return) and 1 dtl
- BH passes - 1 cc, 1 dtl return, 1 inside-out return and 1 inside-in return
- regular BH - 1 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 15
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 8 Forced (1 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 55.7

Edberg 28
- 9 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 19 Forced (1 FH, 11 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.9

(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...
- 42/60 (70%) at net, including...
- 37/55 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 25/37 (68%) off 1st serve and..
- 12/18 (67%) off 2nd serve
---
- 1/3 (33%) forced back

Edberg was...
- 48/74 (65%) at net, including...
- 43/62 (69%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 30/40 (75%) off 1st serve and...
- 13/22 (59%) off 2nd serve
---
- 3/7 (43%) return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back

Match Report
Fast court match between two serve-volleyers and the margins for error couldn't be finer. A point here and there decides it in Boris Becker's favour

Look at the numbers
- First serve in - Edberg 63%, Becker 59%
- First serve won - Edberg 78%, Becker 77%
- Second serve won - Edberg 59%, Becker 56%
- Unreturned serves - Edberg 46%, Becker 41%
- Games with break points- Edberg 3, Becker 2
- Winners - Edberg 26, Becker 17

Usually in close serve-volley matches, the player with higher unreturned rate has fewer volley winners

Here, Edberg leads unreturned rate by 5% and leads forecourt winners 18-8. This is incredibly rare ... looking at these basic numbers without knowing result, I'd estimate probability of Edberg having been the winner to be about 90%

... so how exactly does Becker manage to win this?

Groundstroke Forced Errors (in other words, passing shot errors) - Becker 4, Edberg 12

To win, Edberg needs to make the pass. And he can't. Not that Becker 'can' exactly... but he does at just the right moments. Those are the margins for error on which a fast court match between two quality serve-volleyers turn

Match starts with a bang, Becker hitting 4 passing winners in succession to break. First 3 shots are just too good but the last is enabled by Edberg not putting away a first volley OH

Feeling blessed by the universe, Boris tries his absolute best to return the break. He starts by missing his first 9 first serves (throwing in 2 double faults to be extra sure of being broken). When he finally lands a first serve, he proceeds to miss an OH. Couple of points later, figures he'll throw in a third double for the game. Edberg though makes a hash of a FHV after forcing Boris back with a splendid lob - and Becker holds

Next service game, Becker seeks to be broken with renowned determination and throws in back to back doubles to give Edberg his third break point. Still, he goes on to hold

Jokes aside... Boris does serve well at important times in these two games... but he really is living dangerously with all the doubles and second serves. Rest of set is easy holds

All easy holds in the second set but for the break. Its a terrible game from Becker, missing a easy high BHV, a routine FHV, another FHV to a slowly dropping ball and for variety, a FH dtl winner attempt

Interesting point in early third set game. A forced back Edberg hits a good hard tweener, that Boris manages to control the volley off. If he hadn't, it'd have been marked FE. Apparently, Edberg's quite good at that shot. He forced a volleying error from Michael Stich with it in '93 Grand Slam Cup

Game 5 is marred by bad line calls. When a serve-volleying Boris meets a chip-charging Edberg at net, Boris goes with a lob BHV. The ball lands comfortably out, but goes uncalled. Couple of points later, a serve that was long goes uncalled and Becker is given an ace. Score should 0-30 with second serve coming, instead its 30-15 with first next up. When the next serve is called a fault, the crowd erupt in cheers

The break comes the game after. Edberg opens the door missing an easy FHV and netting a slowly dropping low-ish BHV. Becker crashes through with back to back cc return winners - 1 of each wing. And serves out the match without trouble

Points of Interest
- Note Edberg with 7 return-approaches. These are against first serves as well as seconds and usually knowing it'd put him up against the serve-volleying Boris. Very bold stuff. Boris holds his nerve on the points in question, but credit Edberg for the move. Not much to be gained trying to return that huge serve from orthodoxly, and he knows it

- 46% unreturned rate is the highest I've seen from Edberg. He serves strongly - both serves - but not 46% unreturned rate strong. Note 0 service winners (Boris has 4) and just 5 aces (Boris 11). Furthermore, 2 of those aces were second serves Boris mis-anticipated the direction of

Nor is Becker unduly aggressive with the return. He returns about his normal way against Edberg - taking a decent swing, make-some-miss-some way. Good serving from Edberg, but slightly off returning from Boris. The percentages of getting the break would not have been on his side

- Becker's superiority in consistency of volleying. Edberg has 6 volleying UEs, though he's in deadly, point killing volley mode. Two of those lapses contribute to him losing the match. Becker has just 3 (plus an OH), and all 3 are in the game he's broken in

In other words, sans the 1 game, Becker doesn't miss an easy volley. He doesn't have Edberg's killer finishing - he hits the odd loopy volley - but is the more consistent. Even more than groundstrokes, I've found consistency to be a very overlooked element of good volleying

- Despite the odd loopy volley, Becker doesn't leave Edberg with much on the pass. That's what Edberg would have needed to come out ahead.

He has 12 groundstoke FEs to Boris' 4. Edberg's greater number is a result of -
- Boris missing more returns, thus, not getting far enough to be in a position to hit a pass in play as often
- Edberg killing points with the volley to greater extent (he has 16 forecourt winners, Boris 9)

I think its fair Edberg had more chances, but there was nothing easy on offer. Passes would have had to be near perfect to win points. And Boris does well with low and wide volleys. Just the 4 FEs (Edberg has 7) in the forecourt... and he faced a decent number of tough ones

Summing up, heavily serve dominated match on a fast court with near full-on serve-volleying from both players. Both players play very well - there's nothing in it between them. The combination of serve-return complex and volleying-pass complex that emerges would have favoured Edberg coming out ahead. But its Becker who does. Good match from both players

Stats for the pair's last ever match, at Queen's Club the following year - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-becker-vs-edberg-queens-final-1996.645897/
 
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bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
It's a bizarre rivalry - since their careers are so evenly matched, yet Becker leads 25-10.

Then there's the fact that Edberg is 3-1 in Slams (surprised they only played 4 times), 2-1 in Slam finals, and 4-1 in matches as the biggest stages if you include The 1989 Masters (YEC) final. Or at the very least 4-3 if you include a couple of Becker's thrashings in Davis Cup - which was a big deal back then.

A good number of Edberg's losses were competitive and a lot were indoors where Becker really was on another level. But, still, while I don't necessarily expect them to be exactly even, something more along the lines of, say 21-14 - a spread of 7, not 15!
 
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andreh

Professional
A good number of Edberg's losses were competitive
Very true. Many were just like this one. 1 or 2 points here and there and somehow these went to Becker. A similar match to this on was the 1988 Masters RR, one of the few times a tough, even match in a non-slam setting went to Edberg.
 

California

Semi-Pro
It's a bizarre rivalry - since their careers are so evenly matched, yet Becker leads 25-10.

Then there's the fact that Edberg is 3-1 in Slams (surprised they only played 4 times), 2-1 in Slam finals, and 4-1 in matches as the biggest stages if you include The 1989 Masters (YEC) final. Or at the very least 4-3 if you include a couple of Becker's thrashings in Davis Cup - which was a big deal back then.

A good number of Edberg's losses were competitive and a lot were indoors where Becker really was on another level. But, still, I don't necessarily expect them to be exactly even, but something more along the lines of, say 21-14 - a spread of 7, not 15!
Yes, it is a crazy stat line, biggest problem for Stefan was indoors in general against Becker and after about 1993 Stefan was kinda over tennis. Indoors Beclker was a monster, fast conditions, no wind or sun to deal with, allowed him to over power most competitors.

1993 on Becker won their last 5 meetings in a row and actually won their final 8 meetings in a row from 1991 to 1996 which skews the head to head numbers quite a bit. I think Stefan was less interested in tennis after having his first child. His best results are from say 87 to 92.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
"Or at the very least 4-3 if you include a couple of Becker's thrashings in Davis Cup - which was a big deal back then."

I should correct that to 4-4 - since Becker beat him 3 times in Davis Cup, not 2 like I thought.
 

andreh

Professional
Yes, it is a crazy stat line, biggest problem for Stefan was indoors in general against Becker and after about 1993 Stefan was kinda over tennis. Indoors Beclker was a monster, fast conditions, no wind or sun to deal with, allowed him to over power most competitors.

1993 on Becker won their last 5 meetings in a row and actually won their final 8 meetings in a row from 1991 to 1996 which skews the head to head numbers quite a bit. I think Stefan was less interested in tennis after having his first child. His best results are from say 87 to 92.
Interestingly, all but 2 of Edberg's 10 wins came between 1987 and 1990. These years are both surrounded by losing streaks of 7 and 8, respectively.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Interestingly, all but 2 of Edberg's 10 wins came between 1987 and 1990. These years are both surrounded by losing streaks of 7 and 8, respectively.
That is surprising, especially considering Edberg was still in his prime until 1992-93. They never met in a Slam after 1990. Again, their low number of Slam matches - 4 - surprises me a bit.
 

andreh

Professional
Again, their low number of Slam matches - 4 - surprises me a bit.
Indeed, a bit surprising. But mostly seen through today's standards. Back then it was a different time. The field was arguably more evenly matched. There were more upsets in general. Slams only had 16 seeds. Compared to today where the "Big 4" play eachother in every slam. It was just a different time.
 
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California

Semi-Pro
Indeed, a bit surprising. But mostly seen through today's standards. Back then it was a different time. The field was arguably more evenly matched. There were more upsets in general. Slams only had 16 seeds. Compared to today where the "Big 4" play eachother in every slam. It was just a different time.
And a much better time! Surface variety, different champions, surface specialist, etc.... didn't have the same couple of guys playing each other for the finals of every slam. Still it is surprising they never came up against each other at the US Open or the Aussie Open which each of the won. Would have been nice to see a match at those slams between the two.
 

tennistiger

Semi-Pro
But Edbergs last (real, Bercy 90 does not count)) win over Becker was the 90 Wimbledon final. Lost every match the next 6 years after that! Amazing!
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
But Edbergs last (real, Bercy 90 does not count)) win over Becker was the 90 Wimbledon final. Lost every match the next 6 years after that! Amazing!
Their grass rivalry is also curious with Becker winning all 4 of their encounters at Queen's yet losing 2 of their 3 Wimbledon meetings.
 

California

Semi-Pro
Another crazy stat, I believe it was 16 to 5 for Becker indoors. Carpet, hardcourts, or clay. Tough to play Boris indoors with no sun or wind....
 

BorgCash

Legend
And a much better time! Surface variety, different champions, surface specialist, etc.... didn't have the same couple of guys playing each other for the finals of every slam. Still it is surprising they never came up against each other at the US Open or the Aussie Open which each of the won. Would have been nice to see a match at those slams between the two.
And much better life in general also
 
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