Match Stats/Report - Connors vs Edberg, US Open fourth round, 1989

Waspsting

Professional
Jimmy Connors beat Stefan Edberg 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in the US Open fourth round, 1989 on hard court

Edberg had been runner-up at the French and Wimbledon that year and would go onto win the Masters. Connors would lose to Andre Agassi in the next round

Connors won 89 points, Edberg 57.... Connors incurred a game penalty

Edberg serve-volleyed off most first serves and occasionally off second

{Note: I'm missing 8 points. 4 Connors service points (Connors won 2, Edberg 2) and 4 Edberg service points (Edberg won 1, Connors 3). On a couple of points, I've guessed whether a serve was first or second}

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (57/76) 75%
- 1st serve points won (40/57) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (8/19) 42%
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/76) 22%

Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (35/62) 56%
- 1st serve points won (20/35) 57%
- 2nd serve points won (6/27) 22%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (15/62) 24%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 1%

Edberg served....
- to FH 57%
- to BH 30%
- to Body 3%
 

Waspsting

Professional
Return Stats
Connors made...
- 43 (24 FH, 19 BH)
- 7 Winners (5 FH, 2 BH)
- 12 Errors, all forced...
- 12 Forced (9 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (43/58) 74%

Edberg made...
- 56 (23 FH, 33 BH), including 1 runaround FH, 1 runaround BH & 5 return-approaches
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 10 Unforced (5 FH, 5 BH), including 2 return-approach attempts
- 7 Forced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (56/73) 77%

Break Points
Connors 8/11 (8 games)
Edberg 2/5 (4 games)

 

Waspsting

Professional
Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 20 (10 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
Edberg 15 (7 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)

Connors 13 groundstrokes were all pass
- FHs - 4 cc (1 return), 2 dtl returns, 1 inside-out return, 1 inside-in return and 2 at net (1 running-down-drop-volley)

- BHs - 1 cc return, 1 inside-out return and 1 lob

- 3 second volleys from serve-volley points (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

Edberg's FHs - 3 cc (2 passes) and 4 dtl (2 passes)
- BH - 1 cc pass

- 3 first volleys from serve-volley points (3 BHV

- the OH was a mishit. Technically, its an OH drop shot
 

Waspsting

Professional
Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 21
- 15 Unforced (8 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- 6 Forced (5 FH, 1 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44

Edberg 43
- 30 Unforced (7 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 OH)
- 13 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 4 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.3

(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)
 

Waspsting

Professional
Net Points & Serve-Volley
Connors was...
- 18/28 (64%) at net, including...
- 5/9 (56%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 5/8 (63%) off first serve and..
- 0/1 off second
--
- 1/4 (25%) forced back

Edberg was...
- 23/53 (43%) at net, including...
- 17/38 (45%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 15/28 (54%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/10 (20%) off second
--
- 2/5 (40%) return-approaching
- 0/4 forced back
 

Waspsting

Professional
Match Report



Not a good match, mostly due to Edberg's poor showing. This limits Connors' ability to shine... his returning is particularly good, passing typically strong (including excellent lobbing) otherwise, it'd be generous to describe his play as more than adequate. That's more than he needs given Edberg's low level of play

It looks a medium paced hard court to me and from the get go, Edberg tends to stay back on second serves. Apparently, he knew what he was doing because he ends up winning just 2/10 second serve-volley points (he's 4/13 staying back, sans double faults). He stays back on 4 first serve points too

Not a bad idea because Connors is belting returns, but some of this is due to Edberg not serving particularly well. Perhaps this is a match up issue.... Edberg generally places his serve safely (i.e. within the returners reach) and Connors typically belts serves within his reach. That would leave Edberg with work to do on the volley... and this day, he fails at his usual strength.

8 unforced errors on the volley and 1 OH at net are poor figures, indicating he didn't volley well. Beyond that, he doesn't even polish off balls at net that he usually would or even place them particularly well, giving Connors a second shot at the pass. How is it that Connors has only 5 forced errors against a constant net rusher?

5 forced errors on the volley are indicating Connors passed pretty well too... its mostly the return that does the damage

Perhaps Edberg could have utilized body serves more? He dishes out just 1 and serves mainly to Connors' FH

Peculiarly, Edberg's returns goes south after the first set. In the first, he returns 23/23 serves - 16 of them first serves, 3 of them Connors coming in behind. Which means he only returns 33/50 for the rest of the match for a return rate of 66%. Connors doesn't suddenly start serving harder or better. Serve isn't particularly powerful or well placed... I've marked a number of unforced return errors against the first serve. What happened to Edberg's return so suddenly? He has 10 return unforced errors

With Edberg staying back fairly often and Connors usually starting his service points from the back, we get a lot of baseline rallies. These are drab affairs and both players make plenty of errors (Edberg 20, Connors 14). Edberg slices a lot, without troubling Connors on the low FH. Connors is apt to change directions to dtl or inside-out off both wings, but moving the other guy around doesn't force errors. Edberg is quick to cover the court, Connors is relatively stodgy of motion

Or one player or the other finds a way to net. Edberg's volleying woes continue in these situations as he tends to come in off ordinary balls. Connors chooses his moments to approach better - and is more successful for it (also because Edberg's passes aren't a patch on his own)

Other than movement, the only area Edberg has the advantage is behaviour. Broken in the first game of second set with terrible play (3 baseline UEs and a double fault), Connors expresses his frustration colourfully. And is docked a point for code violation. He continues to argue with the umpire and seems to be explaining the finer points of masturbation to him. And now he's docked a game. Edberg has no such trouble

Edberg hits the first drop shot OH winner in history and earns an appreciative finger wag from Connors (its actually an OH mishit that ends up like that)

Connors' lobbing is excellent. 1 winner and forcing Edberg away from net 4 times with the shot as well as giving him difficult OHs to deal with

Summing up, bad play from Edberg is the main thing - returning, baseline play, volleying all at least below par and at times, less than that even. Heavy returning from Connors is the highlight on the positive side of things and its supported by well-worked approaches and decent net play
 
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California

Rookie
I don't know if it is a bad match up for Edberg.... they were 6 and 6 in their career match ups and almost all of Connors wins were when Edberg was young 1985 or earlier. This was Connors only win post 1985.

I don't think Edberg liked playing at night, he once lost to Bjorkman at the US Open at night which was shocking considering his career record against fellow Swedes. I think it was windy in the Connors match as well, not great conditions for a serve and vollier. Credit to Connors for the win, he did what he needed to...
 

Waspsting

Professional
I think it was windy in the Connors match as well, not great conditions for a serve and vollier. Credit to Connors for the win, he did what he needed to
Conditions were odd. Stadium was half-empty - surprised me, given its Connors at the US Open (even leaving aside against Edberg), which made me think that weather wasn't great, maybe it had rained earlier

And the non-stop sound of planes. distracting to watch, much less play in

You know a lot about Edberg and his career. There's one thing about his record I was hoping you could help explain. and @andreh

Awhile ago, I looked into the difference certain players records across indoor hard vs outdoor hard

My figures aren't exact. Took it from Wikipedia for one think. Took 'hard court record' (i.e. indoor hard + outdoor hard) and subtracted 'carpet record' to derive figures for indoor hard and outdoor hard (assuming there are negligible indoor clay and grass courts)


Edberg had the largest difference. Winning record 72.7% indoor hard, 80.4% outdoor hard

The outdoor figure is higher than McEnroe and Agassi and the same as Sampras

With his needs-to-be-just-so ball toss, I'd have expected Edberg to do better indoors. Any idea what that might be about?
 

andreh

Professional
Edberg running into Becker indoor all the time....? But seriously, I can't think of anything in particular that would explain it.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I've always felt that JC was a bad match up for Edberg. they are 6 for 6 and Connors is past 30 yrs old in these match ups. you'd expect the young man to have an edge. Not so much here. This match, which I've watched a few times on You Tube ( I don't recall it being on live), was simply dreadful for Edberg. Stefan fell short on the things he normally did well--S&V-- and Connors was fairly aggressive and returning quite well, as I recall. His approaches were quite good, giving him those once and done volleys. Re: movement, Connors was moving Stefan around quite a bit. Can't see how going toe-to-toe w/JC was going to be a winning recipe for him. This was as bad as the 1st round match he lost against Volkov. Nothing was working and the baseliner pounded him.
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
It's the same argument regarding the matchup. You can't just discount all Edberg's later wins because Connors was older and ignore that almost all Connors wins came before Edberg hit his prime. If it counts one way then it counts the other.

USA network did show it, but not all of it. They kept cutting in and out of the match. They might have shown 1/2 of it. I remember being very irked at the time. However, that was lessened by how easily Connors won.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
It's the same argument regarding the matchup. You can't just discount all Edberg's later wins because Connors was older and ignore that almost all Connors wins came before Edberg hit his prime. If it counts one way then it counts the other.

USA network did show it, but not all of it. They kept cutting in and out of the match. They might have shown 1/2 of it. I remember being very irked at the time. However, that was lessened by how easily Connors won.
I get that, but they never really met "prime to prime." I'm not discounting any of Edberg's wins. They were always tussles, even in exos, in most cases. In 1991, JC came close to beating him at the Hamlet Cup, which was the USO warm up at the time. To me, Edberg never seemed comfortable playing him. Yet I never saw that when Edberg played Lendl, which perhaps is due to the service return game of JC.
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
Considering that Lendl and Edberg were pretty close to even in lifetime head to head, I'd say he gave him some problems. That's the point, Connors and Edberg didn't meet in each of their primes. And Edberg beat him straight sets a few times. They really didn't play that much going over about 8 years. ATP has it 6 wins each. Not a lot over that many years.

The rest is conjecture. He might have been a good matchup, but I know classc s/v players who gave Connors trouble. Vijay Armitraj would be an example. A lot of others he handled pretty consistently and easily. Edberg was exceptional at it, though.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Considering that Lendl and Edberg were pretty close to even in lifetime head to head, I'd say he gave him some problems. That's the point, Connors and Edberg didn't meet in each of their primes. And Edberg beat him straight sets a few times. They really didn't play that much going over about 8 years. ATP has it 6 wins each. Not a lot over that many years.

The rest is conjecture. He might have been a good matchup, but I know classc s/v players who gave Connors trouble. Vijay Armitraj would be an example. A lot of others he handled pretty consistently and easily. Edberg was exceptional at it, though.
Naturally, some S&V guys were trickier....Armitraj was a pretty slick customer all around. If JC had trouble reading the serve, he was obviously less effective (Mac, Curren, for instance). The Edberg kicker didn't seem to bother him all that much, IMHO; .I mean at nearly 40, he was pushing Edberg pretty hard. Stefan's body language was always interesting to observe....in the '89 QF he looked very downbeat (for obvious reasons)....to me, when he played Lendl and Becker, for instance, he seemed in a better frame of mind (observational, clearly). I remember seeing him in a very "down" fashion in a match against Wilander as well. Hard to say what's behind that....other than how well his S&V may be working on a given day. He had such a beautiful S&V game to watch.
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
I think he just had an off day in 89. And Connors played great. It happens, even in grand slam events, with the best players. With players ranked a lot lower than Connors was then. Just a bad day. Not too many Connors and Federer n their primes where they just never lose early like that. Where a qurterfinal loss was a disaster.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I think he just had an off day in 89. And Connors played great. It happens, even in grand slam events, with the best players. With players ranked a lot lower than Connors was then. Just a bad day. Not too many Connors and Federer n their primes where they just never lose early like that. Where a qurterfinal loss was a disaster.
this is true; Stefan had a lot of problems at the Open, prior to his great years there in '91 and '92. The Volkov and Connors matches were certainly low points; but no shame in losing to JC at the USO. And it was the 4th round, not the 1st. The years seemed to fall away once he got to Flushing, that is for sure. Guys like Fed, Connors, Sampras, Lendl, etc. were incredibly consistent for long stretches of time at the big events....Edberg, Becker, Agassi, not quite as much.
 

California

Rookie
Conditions were odd. Stadium was half-empty - surprised me, given its Connors at the US Open (even leaving aside against Edberg), which made me think that weather wasn't great, maybe it had rained earlier

And the non-stop sound of planes. distracting to watch, much less play in

You know a lot about Edberg and his career. There's one thing about his record I was hoping you could help explain. and @andreh

Awhile ago, I looked into the difference certain players records across indoor hard vs outdoor hard

My figures aren't exact. Took it from Wikipedia for one think. Took 'hard court record' (i.e. indoor hard + outdoor hard) and subtracted 'carpet record' to derive figures for indoor hard and outdoor hard (assuming there are negligible indoor clay and grass courts)


Edberg had the largest difference. Winning record 72.7% indoor hard, 80.4% outdoor hard

The outdoor figure is higher than McEnroe and Agassi and the same as Sampras

With his needs-to-be-just-so ball toss, I'd have expected Edberg to do better indoors. Any idea what that might be about?
My take on your question is that Stefan was vulnerable against big hitters indoors who were playing well. He had a tough record against Becker, he lost several times to Goran indoors too. I know he also lost several times indoors to Stich.

I think he could be blasted off the court a bit on hardcouts inside. I feel big hitters in general love playing inside, no wind, no sun, not cold.... they blast away. It also seemed that indoor harcourts were faster than outdoors, with more consistent footing than grass, which I believe helped the big, tall big hitters against Stefan.

I think outdoors Stefan benefited from the breeze moving his kick serve around after the bounce, more action and less predictable for the returners to get a groove on. The conditions also make the big hitters less comfortable, the wind, sun, etc... doesn't allow the big hitters rip the ball in the same way as indoors. Just my thoughts....
 
I think this match underscores the fact that S&V is an either-or proposition. There's no way to reign in your game and play "safer" as you can be adding more spin or aiming further in the lines when you're playing from the baseline. If a player is an S&Ver and he or she is off, and their opponent is playing at a high level, this is what happens.
 

Waspsting

Professional
I think this match underscores the fact that S&V is an either-or proposition. There's no way to reign in your game and play "safer" as you can be adding more spin or aiming further in the lines when you're playing from the baseline. If a player is an S&Ver and he or she is off, and their opponent is playing at a high level, this is what happens.
I think you're right

especially so for S/V'ers who are more dependent on the volley (like Edberg) than on the serve (like say, Becker)

I've seen Becker and Sampras have bad volleying days... but strength of their serve is such that they can still usually hold most of the time. Possibly even win the match

Even the best baseliners have bad baseline days when the errors keep coming... and its probably more common for good volleyer to have a bad volleying day

And if you have a bad volleying day when our up against a strong returning having a good returning day (like in this match)… bad things will happen

Should note in this match, Edberg had a bad day from the back too. 20 groundstroke UEs to Connors' 14... and I didn't think Connors was anything special off the ground either

Just a bad day all round for Edberg here
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I think you're right

especially so for S/V'ers who are more dependent on the volley (like Edberg) than on the serve (like say, Becker)

I've seen Becker and Sampras have bad volleying days... but strength of their serve is such that they can still usually hold most of the time. Possibly even win the match

Even the best baseliners have bad baseline days when the errors keep coming... and its probably more common for good volleyer to have a bad volleying day

And if you have a bad volleying day when our up against a strong returning having a good returning day (like in this match)… bad things will happen

Should note in this match, Edberg had a bad day from the back too. 20 groundstroke UEs to Connors' 14... and I didn't think Connors was anything special off the ground either

Just a bad day all round for Edberg here
I think you're right

especially so for S/V'ers who are more dependent on the volley (like Edberg) than on the serve (like say, Becker)

I've seen Becker and Sampras have bad volleying days... but strength of their serve is such that they can still usually hold most of the time. Possibly even win the match

Even the best baseliners have bad baseline days when the errors keep coming... and its probably more common for good volleyer to have a bad volleying day

And if you have a bad volleying day when our up against a strong returning having a good returning day (like in this match)… bad things will happen

Should note in this match, Edberg had a bad day from the back too. 20 groundstroke UEs to Connors' 14... and I didn't think Connors was anything special off the ground either

Just a bad day all round for Edberg here
Connors' returns were quite good....Edberg was just off for some reason. JC was playing his typical ground game at that time...basically solid. I think we sensed Edberg wasn't quite with it and he played pretty aggressively. Connors could get on a roll when he smelled blood, so to speak. Andre could do that too when his groundies were firing.
 
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