Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Leconte, Wimbledon semi-final, 1986


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Henri Leconte 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3 in the Wimbledon semi-final, 1986 on grass

Becker, the defending champion, would go onto win the title by beating Ivan Lendl in the final. Leconte was seeded 7th

Becker won 129 points, Leconte 102

Both players serve-volleyed off all serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (69/115) 60%
- 1st serve points won (58/69) 84%
- 2nd serve points won (29/46) 63%
- Aces 13, Service Winners 4
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (58/115) 50%

- 1st serve percentage (61/116) 53%
- 1st serve points won (44/61) 72%
- 2nd serve points won (30/55) 55%
- Aces 11
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (42/116) 36%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 67%
- to Body 3%

Leconte served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 61%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 67 (23 FH, 44 BH)
- 11 Winners (4 FH, 7 BH)
- 31 Errors, all forced...
- 31 Forced (8 FH, 23 BH)
- Return Rate (67/109) 61%

Leconte made...
- 49 (10 FH, 39 BH)
- 3 Winners (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 41 Errors, all forced...
- 41 Forced (12 FH, 29 BH)
- Return Rate (49/107) 46%

Break Points
Becker 4/6 (6 games)
Leconte 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 38 (9 FH, 11 BH, 9 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 7 BHV, 1 OH)
Leconte 30 (6 FH, 4 BH, 7 FHV, 6 BHV, 7 OH)

Becker had 18 from serve-volley points
- 10 first 'volleys' (5 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)
- 8 second volleys (4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

- 19 passes - 11 returns (4 FH, 7 BH) and 8 regular (4 FH, 4 BH)
- FH returns - 2 cc and 2 inside-out
- BH returns - 1 dtl, 2 inside-out and 5 inside-in
- regular FHs - 1 cc, 1 cc/inside-in, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out
- regular BHs - 1 cc and 3 dtl (1 net chord toucher)

- regular FH - 1 longline/cc

Leconte had 20 from serve-volley points
- 8 first volleys (4 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 12 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV, 7 OH)

- 10 passes - 3 returns (2 FH, 1 BH) and 7 regular (4 FH, 3 BH)
- FH returns - 1 dtl and 1 inside-out
- BH return - 1 cc
- regular FHs - 4 dtl
- regular BHs - 1 cc and 2 dtl (1 net chord flicker)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 22
- 7 Unforced (2 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
- 15 Forced (5 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)... with 1 non-net, swinging BHV pass attempt
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.9

Leconte 26
- 9 Unforced (1 FH, 4 FHV, 4 BHV)... with 1 FH at net
- 17 Forced (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 Back-to-Net)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54.4

(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...
- 70/90 (78%) at net, all serve-volleying, comprising...
- 41/52 (79%) off 1st serve and...
- 29/38 (76%) off 2nd serve
- 2/2 retreated

Leconte was...
- 63/104 (61%) at net, including...
- 63/98 (64%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 33/50 (66%) off 1st serve and...
- 30/48 (63%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Simple, 100% serve-volleying match and Becker is better at everything - serving, returning, volleying, passing and also movement. Leconte isn't bad, but he's out of his class here

Match long, everything favours Becker substantially -
- first serve in - Boris 60%, Henri 53%
- first serves won - Boris 84%, Henri 72%
- second serves won - Boris 63%, Henri 55%

Not bad numbers for Henri... Becker's are just better.

Boris is also even in his play, Henri's is not. For first 2 sets, Henri makes 17/44 or 39% first serves in. That shouldn't matter too much - his 2 serves in this part of the match are both strong and almost indistinguishable - but it matters enough to let Boris get into return games enough to break

Its not just the serve. Henri has little runs off being off on the volley. Becker's only such 'run' is in the 4th set tiebreak (and he also isn't required to volley nearly as much, leading unreturned serves 50% to 36%)

Other than that, Henri is just a bit slow or at least, slow enough to make life in forecourt difficult against Boris' powerful returns. He's caught coming in by powerful returns and has to play them slightly under net or they're a bit wide. They wouldn't be easy to play even with top rate, Edberg calibre movement because they're powerful, but a step slower than that... and its almost inevitable that the volleying errors will come

7 volleying FEs for Henri. Most are not overly difficult. Counter-balanced by some of the 9 UEs being not easy. Boris endures the normal trouble on return against a big serve on fast and not particularly regular of bounce grass, but what he returns, he returns with challenging power. He's also apt to return inside-out as well as inside-in or down the middle (particularly off the BH), so Henri can't be too sure what line to cover coming forward

Excellent returning from Boris and typical of him on grass

Boris has just 3 'volley' FEs (excluding a non-net BHV pass attempt). Henri doesn't return as often, as hard and is predictable in his direction of return. And Boris is in position to cope with whatever returns coms back. Decent force on the return by Henri... Boris is upto handling it. 7 UEs from Boris on the volley. Seeing how he faces far fewer volleys, Henri's 9 is more impressive. Nowhere near enough to off set a 14% handicap in unreturned serves though, from Henri's point of view

Henri's all at sea returning. Some typical, excellent power serving by Boris off both serves. Not really a blackmark against Henri's returning... but it would have to be better to be competitive. Again, he's just a bit slow to move to even slightly wide serves ... you can say it would be good returning to have moved quickly enough to be in good position to make such returns, more than it being bad returning to not be able to

Semi-final of Wimbledon though, at least looking able to make such returns is necessity. Henri doesn't look up to it, like an early round opponent might

A toned down version of Boris' return showing is bare minimum necessity for Henri. Boris at least moves and reaches serves that aren't too wide... and pace of Henri's serve is not far short of his own. Henri doesn't and is left to lunge, hop and try to poke returns in play (usually without success)

In general, Boris doesn't seem to catch people out with direction often with his serve. Its so big that players can't return it anyway, but you don't see them moving one way only for the ball to go the other the way typical Pete Sampras or Goran Ivanisevic showings are filled with. Not the hardest serve to read. Here, Leconte doesn't seem to read it and waits til ball is in air before reacting... and its too fast for that

Not too much in it once return is made.

- On winners, Boris is +8... which is also exactly the margin he has on the return shot itself. So basically, sans returns, dead even... and Boris' advantage on the return is based on his serving better as much as returning so (though both are true)
-- volley winners - Boris 18, Henri 19
-- passes in play - Boris 8, Henri 7 (Boris also hits what's technically not a pass... a FH from the baseline while Henri is retreating from net)
--- Passing errors - Boris 12, Henri 9
--- volley UEs - Boris 7, Henri 9
--- volley FEs - Boris 3, Henri 7

Little in it., with the volleying FEs only significant difference. Only its all against a the back drop of Boris +14% unreturned serves... which makes 'little in it' in play very comfortable for Boris

Match Progression
Boris breaks to open. His inside-out returns catch Leconte out. Breaks again later in similar type of game. Both breaks feature a double fault from the loser too

Just 1 break in second set, though Leconte still gets low in-count of 10/25. His second serve though, is near as good as the firsts, and his finishing on the volley is pretty is as well as effective. Break comes to love with Leconte missing all first serves and again, double faulting. This time on break point

Boris has better of third too, Leconte's taken something off both serves, but volleys well enough. He has to endure 2 10 point holds (saving a break point in each). He has his only break point in the match late in the set, and Boris needs a diving'ish volley winner to save it.

Couple of easy volley misses by Boris in tiebreak sees Leconte take it. Boris had missed precious little to this point and virtually never in quick succession

In 4th set, Boris reels off 3 winners in a row - a FH dtl pass on half-volley, a BH dtl pass that skims the top of the tape (balls flight path virtually unaffected) and another BH inside-in return winner to bring up break point. On it, Henri again double faults. Easy to comfy holds form thereon til the end for Boris

Summing up, standard, high-quality grass showing from Becker - serving and returning powerfully, volleying ably and able to make a few hard hit passes along the way and his standard remaining steady. Not bad from Leconte playing in similar way, but he's just not as good. His movement on the return and in the forecourt have room for improvement in particular
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I always thought, that Becker played some of his best tennis, especially in the first two sets against Leconte. Newcombe, no slouch on grass himself, said after the match, that Becker was unplayable that day, and he never saw better grass tennis with the new rackets. Leconte could handle power, he did that often against the hard groundies of Lendl, but he needed some time to get into position and into the groove. Then he could led his fine Laver-like cross backhand fly. But Becker crowded and rushed him, gave him no breathing room and put on immense pressure. All what Leconte could do, was some instinctive hitting, which secured him the close third set. Leconte did better against Becker on clay, when he got more time to execute his shots. He once beat him at RG.
Overall Becker played an extremely good and solid Wimbledon, much better than 1985, imo his best ever Wimbledon performance. He came through a very good and very diverse field of quality players, including McNamee, a net rusher, Pernfors, a cocky retriever (had Boris beaten at RG), Mecir, an unpredictable dangerman with changes of pace, Leconte, a flashy hard hitter and allrounder, and Lendl, a tough server and returner, with the loss of only 2 sets. Compare this line of tough opponents with the guys, Djokovic had to play in this years Wimbledon.
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