Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Edberg, Queens final, 1996


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Stefan Edberg 6-4, 7-6(3) in the Queens Club final, 1996 on grass

The win gave Becker the last of his 4 titles at Queens and this was the last match between the two rivals. The head to head between ended 25-10 in Becker's favour, including 3-0 at this venue - including ( {Correction made to Becker's Queens title count - credit @Mainad )

Becker won 74 points, Edberg 63

Becker serve-volleyed off all his serves. Edberg serve-volleyed off all his first serves and the majority of the seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (39/75) 52%
- 1st serve points won (33/39) 85%
- 2nd serve points won (18/37) 49%
- Aces 6 - including 1 second serve, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/75) 33%

- 1st serve percentage (37/62) 60%
- 1st serve points won (26/37) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (14/25) 56%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/62) 35%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 58%
- to Body 7%

Edberg served....
- to FH 22%
- to BH 67%
- to Body 10%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 36 (11 FH, 25 BH), including 3 runaround FH and 3 return-approaches
- 6 Winners (3 FH, 3 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 17 Forced (4 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (36/58) 62%

Edberg made...
- 45 (14 FH, 31 BH), including 1 runaround FH and 4 return-approaches
- 10 Winners (6 FH, 4 BH)
- 17 Errors, all forced...
- 17 Forced (8 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (45/70) 64%

Break Points
Becker 2/2 (2 games)
Edberg 1/7 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 26 (8 FH, 6 BH, 4 FHV, 8 BHV)
Edberg 24 (9 FH, 4 BH, 6 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)

Becker has 14 from serve-volley points
- 7 first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 FH @ net)
- 5 second 'volleys' (4 BHV, 1 FH @ net)
- 2 third volleys (2 BHV)

- 6 returns (all passes) - 3 FH (3 dtl) and 3 BH (2 cc, 1 inside-in)

- non-return passes - 2 FH (1 dtl, 1 lob) and 3 BH (1 cc, 2 dtl)

- 1 non-pass - a FH cc

Edberg has 9 from serve-volley points
- 6 first volleys (3 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 3 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 OH)

- 10 returns (all passes) - 6 FH (1 cc, 4 dtl, 1 inside-in), the cc being a runaround FH and 4 BH (1 dtl, 1 inside-out, 2 inside-in), the dtl being a slice

- non-return passes - 3 FH (2 cc, 1 dtl), 1 FHV and 1 BH1/2V

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 12
- 1 Unforced (1 FHV)
- 11 Forced (2 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 60

Edberg 18
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 15 Forced (6 FH, 8 BH, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 53.3

(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...
- 47/65 (72%) at net, including...
- 44/62 (71%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 27/32 (84%) off 1st serve and...
- 17/30 (57%) off second serve
- 3/3 (100%) return-approaching
- 1/1 (100%) forced back/retreated from net

Edberg was...
- 38/53 (72%) at net, including...
- 33/47 (70%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 24/35 (69%) off 1st serve and...
- 9/12 (75%) off second serve
- 3/4 (75%) return-approaching

Match Report
Becker gains the first break chance at 3-3 in the first set. Its an eventful game. Boris chip-charge returns to take the net, but retreats back to the baseline and the point ends with Edberg making a FH UE (the only groundstroke UE in the match). Fortune lends a hand when an Edberg volley clips the top of the net and slows down, allowing Boris to make a BH dtl pass. Edberg makes a volleying error (1 of only 2 in the entire match) and Becker wraps up with another passing winner, which he's set up with a strong return that elicits an ordinary volley.

The German has to save two break points in the next game - the first he's faced. His only UE in play - a FHV - and a double fault get him into the hole. He comes out of it living dangerously.... needing a third volley to deny the first break point. Not much more drama in the set... Becker sees it through

Things heat up at the tail end of the second set

Serving at 4-5, Becker is comfortably placed at 40-15, when Edberg unleashes a stunning counter-attack. First, he steps out of the way of a body serve and slaps away a BH inside-in return winner. Next, he threads the needle with a running FH dtl pass. Finally and most daringly of all, he return-approaches even as Becker is serve-volleying, and manages to angle a BH1/2V out of the German's reach for another winner to give himself break and set point. Becker aces it away (probably helped by a bad bounce)

Becker replies by breaking Edberg to love. He opens the game with 2 passing winners before the Swede double faults and makes a volleying error

There's another twist. Serving for the match, Becker is greeted with a trio of Edberg passing winners - 2 returns and a half-volley groundstroke - to fall behind 0-40. He saves 1 break point by drawing a return error, but is passed by the next return to send the set into a tiebreak

Edberg finds himself always behind in the tiebreak after double faulting on the first point. Becker pinches a second mini-break with an excellent runaround FH dtl return pass off a body serve- and wraps up the match with an unreturned serve

Playing Dynamics and Stats
As per standard, Becker serve-volleyed off all his serves - first and second. But Edberg chose to stay back on 9/25 second serves (36%).

I'm not sure if this is something he was doing round about the time ('96 was the tail end of his career and he was seeded only 14th in the event). I would imagine when a player who is routinely serve-volleying on all his serves suddenly stays back for one, the returner would be committed to a serve-volley return (small margin of error to prevent the server from having an easy volley) and not able to change the shot when he notices the difference.

The first time Edberg stays back - around the middle of the first set - Becker hits a normal return and immediately rushes to net. It doesn't look like he was caught off guard by the move. But later, he makes a couple of return UEs to second serves Edberg declined to follow to net

Edberg also employs some aggressive, charge returning. And he pulls it off, winning 3/4 points. Twice he does successfully on key points - first, he strikes a FHV winner from behind the service line in a game that he takes Becker to deuce on and second, he BH1/2V's a winner to bring up set point (which is erased by an ace that seems to have bounced unexpectedly low)

While Becker has more unreturnable serves (8 aces/service winners to 2 from Edberg), Edberg shades the unreturned serve percentage (35% to 33%). Both players both serve and volley well... there's no clear answer to what to attribute this situation too. Edberg has a healthy lead in first serve percentage (60% to 52%) and obviously, Becker has the bigger serve.

If I had to venture, I'd say Edberg returning better is the answer. Look at the 10 return winners. Becker directed 25 serves to Edberg's FH... and the Swede put 6 of them away for winners - a remarkably high percentage (on the BH, its a more down to earth 4 winners from 41 returns)

Both players are excellent on the volley. My memory of Becker's volleying is that it was less than great and his serve did most of the work for him. Rewatching matches of his more recently, I find that its a mixed bag - he has near flawless days but also bad days. This day was a near flawless. Just the 1 UE and 2 FEs. He makes difficult volleys well. Not as efficient as Edberg as putting away the medium height ball (very few people in the games history are) but good enough to satisfy the most exacting critic.

Edberg for his part only has the 2 UEs and 1 FE on a half-volley in the forecourt. Worth noting is that his two volleying UEs are even distributed across the two games he was broken in. Another indicator of how fine the margins in this clash.... just one bad miss, in a match where the guy is at net about 50% of the time is all it takes (should be added he also had a FH UE in a baseline point in the first game he was broken and a double fault in the second... so it is an exaggeration to outright state the 2 volleying errors cost him the match)

Finally, on the pass. Edberg had more 'makeable' ones that he missed (at least one on a very important point), but with both players volleying so well, passing was an awkward business. Becker cleverly makes it a point to direct his volleys away from Edberg's BH unless the court is wide open. You don't play a man for 14 years without picking up these types of things. In other matches between the two, Boris tends to throw up a lot of defensive lobs. He doesn't do that here though. As I recall, Edberg was struggling with back issues round about this time.... testing him on the OH might have been a way to take advantage o this

Summing up, a highly entertaining, 50-50 match with a very fine line between victory and defeat. Great play by both players - Edberg a shade better in returning and volleying, Becker edging the serve and passing. Great stuff all round
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Typical Edberg Becker match. Statically speaking it could've gone either way, but somehow Becker manages to come out on top. They played many matches like this


Bionic Poster
Boris Becker beat Stefan Edberg 6-4, 7-6(3) in the Queens Club final, 1996 on grass

The win gave Becker the last of his 3 titles at Queens and this was the last match between the two rivals. The head to head between ended 25-10 in Becker's favour, including 3-0 at this venue

Actually Becker won 4 titles at Queen's: 1985 (b. Kriek), 1987 (b. Connors), 1988 & 1996 (b. Edberg). The 1996 Queen's final was the last of their 6 encounters on grass (3 at Wimbledon, 3 at Queen's) which finished 4-2 in Becker's favour.

Great summary of the match by the way. :)