Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Edberg, WCT Finals final, 1988


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Stefan Edberg 6-4, 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the WCT Finals final, 1988 on carpet in Dallas, USA

Becker would go onto also win the Year End Masters over Ivan Lendl, but lose to Edberg in the Wimbledon final later in the year

Becker won 120 points, Edberg 110 (including 1 penalty point)

Becker serve-volleyed off all his serves. Edberg serve-volleyed on almost all of his

(Note: I'm missing at least 6 points - 1 Edberg service game, and the remainder of a Becker service game in which he leads 30-0. Its highly likely that both games were successful holds. The alternative is both games being breaks)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (57/104) 55%
- 1st serve points won (46/57) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (20/47) 43%
- Aces 19 (1 second serve, 1 not clean), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (42/104) 40%

- 1st serve percentage (82/125) 66%
- 1st serve points won (52/82) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (19/43) 44%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (29/125) 23%

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

Edberg served....
- to FH 18%
- to BH 78%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 91 (21 FH, 70 BH), including 2 runaround FHs and 1 return-approach
- 12 Winners (4 FH, 8 BH)
- 27 Errors, all forced...
- 27 Forced (5 FH, 22 BH)
- Return Rate (91/120) 76%

Edberg made...
- 57 (24 FH, 33 BH), including 1 runaround FH and 1 return-approach
- 9 Winners (2 FH, 7 BH)
- 22 Errors, all forced...
- 22 Forced (7 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (57/99) 58%

Break Points
Becker 6/13 (8 games)
Edberg 4/10 (6 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 35 (10 FH, 12 BH, 6 FHV, 6 BHV, 1 OH)
Edberg 51 (6 FH, 16 BH, 7 FHV, 15 BHV, 7 OH)

Becker had 12 from serve-volley points
- 6 first volleys (2 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 5 second volleys (2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)

- 12 returns, all passes
- FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out
- BHs - 4 cc, 2 dtl, 2 inside-out

- non-return passes
- FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 cc/longline
- BHs - 4 cc

- the sole non-pass groundstroke winner of the match, a FH dtl

Edberg had 28 from serve-volley points
- 13 first volleys (4 FHV, 7 BHV, 2 OH)
- 15 second volleys (2 FHV, 8 BHV, 5 OH)

- 1 FHV off a chip-charge return point

- 9 returns, all passes
- FHs - 1 cc, 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc, 3 dtl, 2 inside-out

- non-return passes
- FHs - 2 cc, 2 dtl
- BHs - 2 cc, 5 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 longline/cc

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 25
- 7 Unforced (2 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 Point Penalty)
- 18 Forced (5 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 55

Edberg 38
- 8 Unforced (1 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV)
- 30 Forced (4 FH, 10 BH, 3 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 10 BHV, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 56.3

(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...
- 49/82 (60%) at net, including...
- 46/79 (58%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 27/38 (71%) off 1st serve and..
- 19/41 (46%) off 2nd serve
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Edberg was...
- 67/110 (61%) at net, including...
- 63/106 (59%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 46/74 (62%) off 1st serve and...
- 17/32 (53%) off 2nd serve
- 1/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Great match, great action - a virtual 100% serve-volley encounter (Edberg stays back on 12 serves - 6 first and 6 second) like a grass court match, only with consistent bounce, better footing and not as quick of pace. The court pace seems to be about average for carpet, maybe slightly faster but certainly not lightning fast. Becker is the better player and deserves the win, but in such matches, the 'better player' doesn't always win and matches come down to a few key points. It would be harsh to say Edberg chokes on these points - but there is a shade of truth to it

Not much in the first set, mostly comfortable holds. Becker earns his break - with a pair of cc return pass winners (1 of each wing), forcing a volley error via placement (Edberg is well stretched to get racquet on ball) and a FH dtl pass. Edberg has 1 break point - which he earns with a winning pass, a flagrantly forced error (the ball yorking Becker) and a bit of help from Becker (missed easy volley) - but can't convert

Second set isn't as one sided as the 6-1 scoreline indicates. Edberg has to save 3 break points in his opening game - a scintillating 16 point affair, where Becker strikes 6 winners in 8 points, including 4 in a row, and Edberg has 4 of his own. He has to save another in his next service game and is extended to 10 points when serving out the set. In between though, he picks up 2 breaks with strong returns and passes

Third set is the key. 6 comfortable holds and everything looks normal - but there are 5 breaks in the next 6 games. And its all on Edberg's racquet - both raising the game to get his 2 break, and choking to get broken 3 times

First, he breaks with 4 winning passes in a deuce game. But he's broken back to love - missing an awkward but makeable OH, muffing an easy volley and missing another by trying to go inside-out with it

No matter. He breaks again - couple of passing winners, couple of Becker errors (including a double). And he's broken back again, despite being aided by a point penalty Becker incurs for 'unsportsmanlike conduct' (banging his racquet on the ground in frustration. he'd previously been warned for an angry response over an overrule by the umpire)… back to back double faults sealing the game

After Becker stops the rot of breaks, Edberg's broken for the third time in a row.... but this is a great game from both players, especially Becker. Edberg does mis-anticipate a Becker return and for once, is a bit slow in reaching out to a high volley and hits it long... but credit Becker for this break

4th set is academic. Becker serves up a storm - 15/25 unreturned serves, including 8 aces and a service winner (he had 11 aces in the rest of the match) - to shut Edberg out on return. And Edberg, perhaps rattled by the events of the last set, stays back on 7 serves (he'd stayed back on 5 combined in the first 3 sets). Still, Becker earns his 2 breaks with powerful returns and passes and deserves credit for this one, not Edberg discredit

Serve/Return & Serve-Volley/Pass
This is the first I've seen Becker serve-volleying exclusively outside grass. Far as I know and have seen, even Edberg wasn't in the habit of serve-volleying as much as he does here outside the green

Not sure why... court isn't especially fast. Look at Edberg's 2 aces and 23% unreturned serves. Becker too wasn't overly dominant with the serve... after 3 sets, he had 34% unreturned serves and 11 aces, good numbers, but not extraordinary

As with any match up between these two, the discrepancy in serve is a big factor. One gathers that Becker isn't particularly troubled by Edberg's first shot. He may go through periods where he's making more return errors than he'd like, but that's par for the course when facing a serve-volleyer, let alone one of Edberg's calibre. But sooner or later, he'll get stuck into a few returns - it could be for as little as 1 game and that'd be good enough to win the set.

That's largely what happens here. Look at Becker's 12 return winners and there's a fair number of first volley forcing error ones too, to say nothing of one's that forced defensive volleys to set up a good shot at a pass next ball.

Becker's also stronger on the pass. He's forced 16 forecourt errors out of Edberg (Edberg forced 6 out of him by contrast)… some of this is due to Becker being better positions to make the pass due to his comparitve advantage in the serve-return complex, still, I'd say even in an absolute sense, he's the better passer, particularly with regards to power

The forecourt errors doesn't tell the whole story though. There's also the matter of Edberg making 15 non-return passing winners to Becker's 9. Some of that is due to Edberg's superiority in covering the net and anticipation... still, I'd say Becker has the advantage on the pass

That leaves the volley. Edberg is generally the better volleyer and net player.... but to compensate for trailing on serve, return and passing, he'd have to be better by a long, long way - probably to the extent of needing Becker to be volleying outright badly. Becker doesn't. He has a good day at net (4 UEs to Edberg's 7... roughly proportionate to approaches made). If Edberg is better in forecourt, its by a smaller margin than Becker is better on the pass

Note the statistical areas Edberg leads in. Serve-volleying off second serve, he's at 53% to Becker's 46% - a sign of his superiority purely at net. 51 winners to Becker's 35, but that's a bit misleading. Taking winners + forced errors, Edberg's lead is slashed to 69-65 - effectively equal

Summing up, great match with very good passing as well as volleying from both players to result in a high level of play. With Becker keeping the huge serve under wraps til the last set, its probably the power of his returning , in conjunction with Edberg's relatively unthreatening serve that's the key for 3/4 of the match. And the big serve just puts Becker well over
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