Match Stats/Report - Borg vs Vilas, Suntory Cup Invitational final, 1982


Hall of Fame
Bjorn Borg beat Guillermo Vilas 6-1, 6-2 in the Suntory Cup Invitational final, 1982 on carpet in Tokyo, Japan

Borg had previously won this 4-man invitational event in 1978. He had just begun his unofficial retirement from official tournaments earlier in the year

Borg won 53 points, Vilas 30

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (19/37) 51%
- 1st serve points won (16/19) 84%
- 2nd serve points won (11/18) 61%
- Aces 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (7/37) 19%

- 1st serve percentage (25/46) 54%
- 1st serve points won (13/25) 52%
- 2nd serve points won (6/21) 29%
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (6/46) 13%

Serve Patterns
Borg served...
- to FH 16%
- to BH 84%

Vilas served...
- to FH 22%
- to BH 78%

Return Stats
Borg made...
- 39 (17 FH, 22 BH), including 9 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH), a runaround FH
- 5 Forced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (39/45) 87%

Vilas made...
- 30 (13 FH, 17 BH), including 10 runaround FHs
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (30/37) 81%

Break Points
Borg 6/7 (6 games)
Vilas 1/1

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Borg 12 (6 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)
Vilas 13 (2 FH, 5 FHV, 2 BHV, 4 OH)

Borg had 4 from serve-volley points
- 3 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 2 FH at net)
- 1 second volley (1 FHV)

- the BHV caught the top of the net chord and tipped over

- FHs - 1 cc pass, 1 dtl pass, 1 lob and 1 running-down-drop-volley at net
- BHs - 1 cc played as Vilas was retreating from net and 1 dtl return pass

Vilas' FHs - 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in

- 2 FHVs were stops

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Borg 11
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH, 2 OH)
- 4 Forced (3 FH, 1 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

Vilas 33
- 27 Unforced (7 FH, 18 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 6 Forced (1 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.3

(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
Borg was...
- 9/12 (75%) at net, including...
- 4/5 (80%) serve-volleying, all first serves
- 1/1 forced back

Vilas was...
- 17/29 (59%) at net, including...
- 3/5 (60%) serve-volleying, all first serves
- 0/1 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Short, sweet and with Borg playing as well as ever. The last point isn't surprising. The event was played in April 1982 - he'd played in Monte Carlo the same month (probably before this event, not sure)… in short, he hadn't been 'retired' long enough to necessarily be out of touch. He looks as fit as ever certainly

The carpet court is on the slow side. The type of play both players engage in possibly makes it appear even slower, with the high loopy top spin shots rising chest high

Borg rushes into a 4-0 lead. with both players returning comfortably - especially Borg, whose first serve is a handful to deal with - players settle into baseline rallies. Not unlike a clay court match, rather passive, loopy shots being exchanged. And Borg is the more consistent - just 4 UEs in the set (2 FH, 2 BH). Vilas has 16 (3 FH, 12 BH, 1 FHV).

Vilas breaks sensationally to start the second set. Up 30-0, Borg nets an easy first volley OH - the first of 2 groan inducing misses on that particular shot in the match for him. Vilas takes the net to dispatch 3 winners in the next 3 points to take the lead.

Its short lived. Borg breaks back, by outlasting Vilas to win points. And continues to dominate action

Number of good points. Good BH dtl approaches from Vilas and a couple of precise stop volley winners. Borg putting back in play 2 Vilas smashes before Vilas misses a high BHV. A superb, short angled BH cc winner from Borg and a BH dtl return pass played from well outside court. Borg's sole BHV winner comes when after he races from one side of the forecourt to the other to just reach a low ball, and barely get it over for the winner

The point of the match goes to Borg too. Vilas unleashes a near perfect BH drop shot that Borg has to be at his swiftest to just about reach. Vilas though is waiting and lob BHVs the rejoinder from about half-way between service line and baseline. Borg scampers back and hits an excellent turnaround BH lob as Vilas takes the net. Vilas BHOHs best he can... and Borg wraps up with a FH top spin lob winner that Vilas tries to retrieve without success

Serve & Return
Borg's first serve is a handful. Just the 1 ace and 19% unreturned serves... some of that is down to the court speed and some to Vilas' consistent returning. Borg winning 84% first serve points does not indicate the strength of his serve, that's more due to his overwhelming superiority in play. Serve wasn't setting up commanding third balls or anything like that

Vilas' serve is a lot more gentle and ineffective with one exception. The serve out wide to the Borg BH in the ad court tends to take Borg way, way off court to return. Vilas hits that angle well, but the dramatic degree to which Borg is pulled wide also has something to do with how far back Borg stands to return serve

Both players return solidly, both runaround most second serves directed to their BHs. Borg returns from well back, Vilas from a normal position. Returns don't play much part in the result... like clay, its something which these players seem to be able to take for granted

Borg hits some excellent returns when Vilas serve-volleys out wide to this BH. Vilas can't do the same when Borg serve-volleys and the Swede is left with commanding first 'volleys' (2 of them are groundstrokes that he hits for winners)

Play - Baseline
With both players returning so well, action turns to rallies. Baseline rallies of the longish variety

Borg has the clear advantage. Its who blinks-first... and he doesn't seem to have eyelids. 5 groundstroke UEs for the match for Borg. Vilas has 25 - 7 FHs and 18 BHs

Borg's groundstrokes in particular are hit passively enough as to rarely 'force' an error, but Vilas does hit some strong shots... FH inside-outs, FH inside-ins and BH dtl in particular. They all come back, and usually not weakly. That Borg is forced into exactly 0 errors baseline-to-baseline (all 4 of his FEs are passes or running-down-drop-shots) is a great feat... and testimony to the swiftness of his court coverage and surety of his defensive shots.

Vilas' BH is the weakest link on show, and its not too weak, just less consistent than the other 3 groundstrokes on court. Borg tends to 'attack' it (read: keep going to it) - mostly with BH longlinges. Borg's command of this particular shot is worth noting... its not a shot people play 4-5 times in a row, but Borg does. And he never seems to miss

So default playing dynamics are -
a) who-blinks-first-rallies and...
b) Vilas keeps blinking first

... so the onus falls on the Argentine to change it up. He tries with more attacking groundstrokes, but Borg neutralizes it comfortably. Then Vilas turns to coming to net more

Play - Net
Vilas finishes with 17/29 @ 59% at net, which is a healthy number. He's at net for more than a third of all points played

But he has to be precise in choosing his moments. Any loose or short approach shots are punished by Borg. Good BH dtl approach shots in particular

Borg for his part is dangerous on the pass. Coming forward to him is not an inviting prospect... but it beats the alternative and credit Vilas for stepping up. He shows good touch and net instincts too

Borg for his part comes in a bit and is better than I've usually seen him as far as looking comfortable goes. He does muff a couple of OHs... probably not his best shot. Not putting away OHs is relatively common for Borg in general, though the two misses here are particularly bad

Vilas serve out wide was dragging Borg out so far that I thought serve-volleying off that play would be a good move. Vilas does. He wins a couple of points, but is also forced into a volleying error - and in the last game of the match, passed from well wide off the court.

Alternatives for Vilas?
Don't think anything could change the outcome... Borg is simply the far better player

Vilas' BH cc is often sharply angled and apt to open the court. And he hits some strong BH dtl's (and a couple of FH inside-ins, one for a clean winner from the baseline). Strangely, Borg of the big FH doesn't seem to 'enjoy' trading FH cc with Vilas' BH cc (he seems to prefer BH longline), though the Swede still comes off better in the cc rallies due to Vilas' lesser consistency

I thought some combination of well angled BH cc, coupled with BH dtl or FH inside-in flat shot (Borg rarely goes FH longline, almost always preferring to go back cc) with approaches might be Vilas' best option

Unlikely to work due to his error proneness, Borg's court coverage/defence and passing... but there's not a whole lot that was working to begin with

Summing up, wonderful performance from Borg... strong serving, sure returning, choice passing and most of all, consistency itself off the ground. Vilas doesn't disgrace himself but is just squeezed out

The two had played a similar match in Monte Carlo a couple years ago -