Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Edberg, Tokyo final, 1986


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Stefan Edberg 7-6(5), 6-1 in the Tokyo indoor final, 1986 on carpet

Becker had recently won his second Wimbledon title and Edberg would go onto win his second Australian Open (both titles on grass) a few months afterwards

Becker won 72 points, Edberg 59

Both players serve-volleyed on the majority of their first serves, and regularly off their second

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (45/72) 63%
- 1st serve points won (36/45) 80%
- 2nd serve points won (10/27) 37%
- Aces 12 - including 2 second serves, Service Winners 4
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/72) 42%

- 1st serve percentage (33/59) 56%
- 1st serve points won (22/33) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (11/26) 42%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/59) 29%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 39%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 1%

Edberg served....
- to FH 25%
- to BH 73%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 38 (8 FH, 30 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 12 Forced (4 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (38/55) 69%

Edberg made...
- 40 (18 FH, 22 BH), including 2 runaround FH and 2 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 2 (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 12 Forced (4 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (40/70) 57%

Break Points
Becker 3/6 (3 games)
Edberg 1/6 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 13 (4 FH, 1 BH, 5 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
Edberg 23 (5 FH, 6 BH, 3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 2 OH, 1 BHOH)

Becker had 8 from serve-volley points
- 6 first volleys (4 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 2 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 OH)

- all groundstrokes were passes
- FH passes - 2 cc (1 return and 1 off of an Edberg OH), 1 dtl and 1 lob (hit almost on the half-volley)
- BH pass - 1 dtl return

Edberg had 8 from serve-volley points
- 6 first volleys (1 FHV, 5 BHV)
- 2 second volleys (2 OH)

-5 passes (1 FH, 4 BH)
- FH pass - 1 cc return
- BH passes - 1 cc and 3 dtl (1 return)

- non-pass groundstrokes - 4 FH (4 cc) and 2 BH (1 cc, 1 dtl/inside-out)

- the FH1/2V was a drop and the BHOH was played with both players at net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 19
- 8 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 11 Forced (1 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 5 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.8

Edberg 23
- 6 Unforced (3 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 17 Forced (2 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.6

(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...
- 28/42 (67%) at net, including...
- 25/36 (69%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 20/24 (83%) off 1st serve and...
- 5/12 (42%) off second serve
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 1/4 forced back from net

Edberg was...
- 30/48 (63%) at net, including...
- 24/40 (60%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 17/25 (68%) off 1st serve and...
- 7/15 (47%) off second serve
- 2/2 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back from net

Match Report
There's nothing in it between the two players in the first set on this slow carpet court.

Going into the tiebreak, Edberg has won 40 points, Becker 39. Becker had broken on his only break point chance, Edberg needed 6 chances across 3 games to equalize. Both players stay back on a number of serves (both first and second), neither player is able to be overly dominant with the serve shot alone. In baseline rallies, they both tend to look for chances to come in.

Becker is typically clutch when down break point, usually serving his way out of trouble. On one point though, he stays back off a first serve and Edberg makes his way to the net, only to be met with a powerful pass that forces a volleying error. Becker breaks serve in an excellently played game. He forces Edberg back from net and approaches himself to take the first point, forces volley and half-volley winners on the next two and finally, hits a superb FH lob - virtually on the half-volley - for a winner to secure the break. Edberg for his part, gains his break in a game marked by 3 Becker errors (2 from the baseline), though Edberg contributes with a runaround FH return pass.

The tiebreak is a high quality affair. It feels like the players are saying "anything you can do, I can do better". The key point is one where Edberg isn't able to fully putaway a good defensive lob from Becker... I've seen him hit many trickier OH smashes more comprehensively. Becker is able to slap away a FH pass winner off the OH to gain the point.

Edberg responds with a wonderful BH cc pass. Becker answers with a second serve ace. Edberg hits a first serve ace. Becker forces a volleying error. Edberg comes back with a BH return passing winner. Becker replies with a serve-volley first volley winner. Anti-climactically, the game ends with an Edberg double.

So the critical point was Becker pinching a point against Edberg's OH, but there's something poetic about Becker striking a second serve ace under pressure, while Edberg double faults on set point.

The second set is all Boris. He breaks in the second game with 2 passing winners and forcing 2 volleying errors, and commands his service games on the back of the strength of his serve - 14 unreturned serves (including 7 aces and 1 service winner) in 22 points. He gains the second break to really make it a look like a thrashing - a game featuring chip-charge returns, return of service winners, 2 identical Edberg first volley winners.... and 2 doubles.

Playing Dynamics & Statistics
One can see that the players weren't overly familiar with one another. In later years, it seems the two can virtually read one another's mind and nothing either does surprises the other. Here, that's not the case.

Edberg doesn't seem to be able to read the Becker serve. He's a little slow in reacting to it at times and caught off guard by it. As stated earlier, this is a slow court... and Edberg would be disappointed with a return rate of just 57% in the conditions. It should be added that Becker serves exceptionally well in the second set, painting lines with his first stroke

Becker mostly volleys to Edberg's BH. It works, but time would reveal to the tennis world at large (and Becker probably before that) that the smarter play was to the Edberg FH.

The commentators talk a bit about Edberg's FH being a "weakness". Wouldn't know it from this match. The Edberg FH is the strongest shot on show in baseline exchanges... striking 4 clean winners and 0 UEs. In fact, Edberg strikes all the baseline-to-baseline winners in the match. He also has 2 BHs to with the brutal FH.

Note Becker's low second serve points won (37%)… which is even more surprising in light of his having only 2 double faults and striking 2 aces. He stayed back on most second serve points and this is another indication of Edberg's superiority from the baseline.

On the pass, Becker has the greater power. This comes through most strongly in the number of volleying and half-volleying errors he forces (8. Edberg forced 5). Most were very much forced. Edberg doesn't volley at his best but still well enough.... I would primarily credit Becker's power on the pass for these stats.

Edberg's movement is a bit off from his norm. Even in getting to the net. At times, he almost seems hesitant coming in.... in complete contrast to his norm of appearing to know exactly what he's doing coming forward. While strong on the pass and occasionally on the return, Becker's game cannot quite account for this

Summing up, a close first set that could have gone either way and then Boris Becker running away with the match. Strong serves and clutch play are at the heart of the result