Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Edberg, Brussels Indoor semi-final, 1992


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Stefan Edberg 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in Brussels Indoor semi-final, 1992 on carpet

Becker would go onto beat Jim Courier in the final to win the event. Edberg and Courier were the two top ranked players at the time. Edberg would go onto win defend his US Open title later in the year

Becker won 84 points, Edberg 78

Becker serve-volleyed of all first serves and occasionally off seconds, Edberg serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve and majority of seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (48/82) 59%
- 1st serve points won (39/48) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (19/34) 56%
- Aces 8 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/82) 37%

- 1st serve percentage (48/80) 60%
- 1st serve points won (36/48) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (18/32) 56%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/80) 28%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 23%
- to BH 68%
- to Body 9%

Edberg served...
- to FH 21%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 13%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 54 (11 FH, 43 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 6 Winners (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 18 Forced (3 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (54/76) 71%

Edberg made...
- 49 (10 FH, 39 BH), including 7 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 21 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 18 Forced (3 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (49/79) 62%

Break Points
Becker 3/5 (4 games)
Edberg 1/5 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 24 (4 FH, 7 BH, 4 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 2 OH, 1 BHOH)
Edberg 26 (3 FH, 5 BH, 11 FHV, 4 BHV, 3 OH)

Becker had 12 from serve-volley points -
- 8 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)… the FH1/2V was a net chord tip over
- 4 second volleys (1 BHV, 2 OH, 1 BHOH)

- 6 returns (1 FH, 5 BH), all passes
- FH - 1 dtl
- BHs - 2 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-out

- non-return FHs - 2 inside-out (1 pass) and 1 cc running-down-drop-volley at net
- non-return BHs - 2 cc

Edberg had from 17 serve-volley points -
- 9 first volleys (8 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 8 second volleys (2 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 OH)

- FHs - 2 cc (1 return pass) and 1 running-down-drop-volley cc at net
- BHs - 1 cc return pass and 4 dtl (3 passes - 1 of them a return)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 27
- 5 Unforced (1 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 22 Forced (5 FH, 11 BH, 1 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54

Edberg 26
- 7 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH, 5 FHV)
- 19 Forced (5 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.4

(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...
- 41/59 (69%) at net, including...
- 37/51 (73%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 31/40 (78%) off 1st serve and..
- 6/11 (55%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Edberg was...
- 53/74 (72%) at net, including...
- 43/61 (70%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 32/44 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 11/17 (65%) off 2nd serve
- 4/7 (57%) return-approaching

Match Report
Slow start from Boris Becker but when he comes good, he stays that way - and its just a bit too much for his opponent. Court looks to be playing slightly slow for carpet - enough so that returns can be made with some comfort, but still fast enough that powerful groundstrokes are rewarded

Even without the break, Edberg has the better of first set. He serves 24 points, Becker has to serve 35 - twice being taken to deuce and having to save a break point. The main thing is Becker isn't serving well. Not only does he just make 18/35 first serves... but those first serves are lacking their usual force. First serves of the two players look about equally powerful in this set (Becker with small edge) - a product of Becker's being down from norm, not Edberg's being up from his

Edberg breaks to take the set, taking first two points with chip-charge return and good return that forces 1/2volley error. Becker finishes the job for him with a double fault and missing an easy first FHV. Edberg is just plain sharper in the set, Becker looks sluggish

Becker's first serve percentage picks up in second set, though the rest of his play remains un-fluent. Edberg maintains his level (making allowance for facing stronger opposition) and both players hold comfortably til game 7. Some strong returning and hitting from Boris, aided by some loose stuff from Edberg make it a tough game... but Edberg comes through to hold.

He doesn't next service game though. Whack, whack, whack... 3 return of serve winners followed by a double fault (Edberg wins a couple of points in between too) give Becker the break.

And a shot in the arm. From thereon, Boris plays like a predator on the prowl. He serves out the set in a flash - 2 forced return errors, 2 first volley BHV winners - to take the match into the decider

In it, he's by far the stronger player - regularly hitting strong returns and blasting down serves. Becker finishes on an unbroken run of having won his last 20 first serve points (he'd won 12/18 in first set) and his returning is such that Edberg's first serve points won drops to the near 50% mark of his second serves.

That's a common feature of this match up... when Becker gets hot returning, it doesn't seem to matter what type of serve Edberg's dishing out. They all get whacked. By contrast, when Becker's serving a lot of first serves, he tends to just blast through Stefan


Hall of Fame
General - Edberg's return
Having statt-ted a large number of matches between these two, especially on carpet, this is the key to the whole match-up, from Edberg's point of view. How Edberg returns

Generally, he's at his best when its with touch and placement (as opposed to power). As in first set of this match

Generally, most of the time he returns orthodoxly - swinging or blocking the ball back straight. But when he's able to angle the return this way and that, to dip it just so (particularly effective against Becker - who tends to be a bit slow coming forward and whose serve lends itself to being guided)… that's when he troubles Boris the most. You see this in their '91 Stockholm match

Of power returning, Edberg just isn't good enough at it to trouble Becker. Few players were - maybe an Agassi or a Connors

The best returning display I've seen against Becker was by Ivan Lendl on grass at Queens '90... and that was essentially touch/placement based stuff

Becker's serve is so strong that no style of returning would magically neuter it. And use of touch/placement becomes harder as power goes up... Becker was probably at the forefront of changing times in tennis when use of touch became replaced by power hitting (he himself returns powerfully to the exclusion of touch - and does so very well). But I think Edberg generally would have been best served to take the touch/placement route to returning Becker, rather than hitting returns. In short bursts, he's demonstrated his proficiency at it. At least, use it more than he generally did... usually, he just returned like everybody else. Hit or block ball back straight

In this match, another thing he does well is return-approach. These aren't usually chip-charges. Often they're hit and run affairs against powerful first serves and with Becker serve-volleying. A bit desperate maybe... but a good way to possibly disrupt the big servers rhythm. In any case, what does it lose? The alternative is putting ball in play and being a sitting duck for a strong first volley. Edberg is 4/7 return-approaching in the match - great figures when you consider making the return in the first place is difficult (he has 1 error trying - that was a regular chip-charge attempt against second serve)

The usual stuff happening in this match -

- periods of Becker's serve being overwheming
- select periods of Becker's big cut returning being too much for Edberg
- Edberg volleying fluently but inevitably challenged at some point by huge returns and passes

Becker volleys well in the match, though Edberg's fairly ordinary on the pass. This aspect of the match-up varies quite a bit -
- sometimes Becker volleys very well (then Edberg's completely screwed)
- sometimes not well and has to rely on power serving to make up the slack (gives Edberg a chance - he needs to pass well)
- quality of Edberg's passing varies regularly and how that goes over depends on what kind of a day Becker's having at net. Rarely does Edberg's passing reach a level that it would smoke someone playing well at net

The baseline play in this match is good form both players. Becker stays back on most second serves and Edberg does too. Just the 3 groundstroke UEs between the pair, rallies are open court stuff. Becker has the power advantage and has the edge baseline-to-baseline

Edberg is 6/6 on points he rallies his way to net. Mostly his own service points... Becker's baseline shots when he can lead on his own service points are strong enough to make approaching awkward. Seeing as he was willing to return-approach against Becker's first serve, it was still do-able for Edberg... but he played well enough from the baseline that there wouldn't have been any obvious need for it. Would just have been desperate stuff - and Edberg winning majority baseline points through Becker spraying UEs would have been a possibility (though it didn't happen)

Becker is 4/7 rallying to net

Summing up, good match with some nifty retuning from Edberg against below-par Becker serving at the start. But when Becker comes good with the big serves and heavy returns, match turns for good in his favour
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