Match Stats/Report - Corretja vs Moya, Year End Championship final, 1998


Hall of Fame
Alex Corretja beat Carlos Moya 3-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-5 in the Year End Championship final, 1998 on carpet in Hanover, Germany

It was the only final for both players at the event. They had met in the French Open final earlier in the year, with Moya winning in straight sets. Both players had finished second in their round robin groups with 2-1 records. Corretja defeated Andre Agassi among others in the round robin and defending champion Pete Sampras in the semi-final

Corretja won 165 points, Moya 168

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (109/189) 58%
- 1st serve points won (71/109) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (42/80) 53%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/189) 20%

- 1st serve percentage (80/144) 56%
- 1st serve points won (62/80) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (30/64) 47%
- Aces 10, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (42/144) 29%

Serve Patterns
Corretja served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 7%

Moya served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 65%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Corretja made...
- 97 (26 FH, 71 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 BH )
- 30 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (2 FH, 9 BH)
- 19 Forced (8 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (97/139) 70%

Moya made...
- 146 (83 FH, 63 BH), including 36 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH), a runaround FH
- 32 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (6 FH, 3 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 23 Forced (8 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (146/184) 79%

Break Points
Corretja 6/12 (8 games)
Moya 6/22 (9 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Corretja 45 (13 FH, 11 BH, 4 FHV, 9 BHV, 8 OH)
Moya 40 (13 FH, 9 BH, 4 FHV, 6 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 7 OH)

Corretja's FHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 5 dtl (3 passes), 3 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 1 lob
- BHs - 7 dtl (3 passes), 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 inside-out return, 1 longline, 1 drop shot at net

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

- 1 other OH was on the bounce

Moya's FHs - 3 cc (1 runaround return), 1 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 4 inside-out, 3 inside-in, 1 running-down-drop-shot cc at net
- BHs - 3 cc passes (1 at net), 5 dtl (1 at net, 2 passes), 1 running-down-drop-shot dtl at net

- 2 from serve-volley points - 2 BHVs, both first volleys

- 1 OH was on the bounce

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Corretja 81
- 49 Unforced (31 FH, 17 BH, 1 BHV)
- 32 Forced (15 FH, 12 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV).... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.1

Moya 77
- 51 Unforced (26 FH, 24 BH, 1 FHV)
- 26 Forced (10 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.8

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Corretja was...
- 39/55 (71%) at net, including....
- 14/16 (88%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back

Moya was...
- 40/54 (74%) at net, including....
- 3/3 (100%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
The tennis isn’t the best but the way the match unfolds makes for quite a story. Moya completely dominates early part of match - strong serving, sure returning, commanding baseline play - to open up a 2 sets to love lead. The bell ringing in the third set is like a switch that turns him down to Corretja’s standard - average serve, so-so returning, scratchy of consistency groundgame - and rest of match is played at that level by both players

Its competitive. Corretja improves slightly, independent of Moya’s drop and is better of equals. He’s fitter, uses the net and serve-volley with better judgement and Moya chokes a bit to push the result his way

The court is slow by standards of ‘90s carpet and very slow by the standards of the immediate history of the tournament - which were extreme. It’s a good change in terms of offering something to different styles of play. Having extreme fast courts at an event that players qualified for based on their overall performances across all surfaces for the year never made much sense. But its still a good paced court - strong serving garners rewards (as Moya’s early showing demonstrates) and hard-hitting baseline play is viable option (which Moya’s somewhat demonstrates early on). Grinding play, even of the top-spinny variety is do-able too - and both players end up indulging it as much as anything else

Match is best thought of as a two part affair

Part 1 - First Two Sets
Moya’s showing for first 2 sets is the only genuine high quality play
. Powerful serve that’s often enough placed wide. Stepping in and smacking the ball, particularly off the FH to boss action. Often finishing at net

Moya holds his serve in about 2 minutes. Good lot of unreturned serves - mostly hard forced, but Cor’s no wall against second serves either. Bosses baseline rallies with his FH, while gracefully sailing around the court. Short rallies, with Cor giving up pressured errors or being forced into them. Comes forward to finish at net some, set up sweetly

Meanwhile, every Cor service game is either a struggle or an easy break. Gets few freebies and rallies go same way as on Moya’s serve games

Cor hasn’t even played badly. He just doesn’t seem to be in Moya’s league

After 2 sets -
- Moya’s won 58.9% of points while serving 37.1% of them
- lost 9 points in 9 service holds, no break points faced, 1 deuce game. While being 3/14 (5 games) on break points
- Made 65 returns. Corretja’s made 28
- is 15/17 at net and won 24/27 first serve points
- leads unreturneds 37% to 14%

About 3 hours later, Cor’s lifting the trophy. What changes?

Part 2 - Last Three Sets
The shift in Moya’s level is startling. You’d think it was another day, another match

One minute he’s doing all the things described above - while Cor is being overwhelmed by it - next, he’s down to Cor’s standard

Rest of match features -

- average serving from both players. Nothing too tough to return, little lunging and stretching and rushed for sheer pace stuff. Previously, only Cor’s serve had that effect, while Moya’s caused some mayhem

No matter. In fact, good - might get some rallies going and see some good returning but no

- average returning. Serves being what they are, there’s scope for damaging returning, there’s scope for high consistent returning. We don’t get either. Neither player is damaging with the return and neither player are a wall either. Moya continues to play runaround FH returns in both courts - which should tell you what Cor’s second serve is like - but he’s not aggressive with the shot

In nutshell, serve-return complex is flatly mundane. No matter. Plenty of room for some fun rallies but no

- average baseline rallies. Two trade groundies from the back. Neither player, none of the 4 shots stand out as being dominant. Moya’s BH is a bit clumsy, his FH neither bossy nor particularly solid. Cor’s BH is most consistent shot on show, but not damaging and his FH is ordinary

No great damaging shots
No great consistency
No great defence
Also, no undue sloppiness

Moya tries to boss from the baseline at times (usually ends with him making errors), Cor rarely but he’s more successful when he does. Over course of 3 sets, Moya is slightly more bossy. Essentially, we get a mundane baseline encounter - 1 guy a little bossier, but also more error prone

The one standout positive is both players net play. Both come in behind strong approaches, so both face routine volleys at most. No great contest between volley and pass but both players are near perfect in their finishing. Volleys go for winners or well wide of receiver. No plonking volleys in middle of court

Break points for this period read -
Cor 6/12 (8 games)
Moya 3/8 (4 games)

Cor wins 54.5% of the points, serving 53.1% of them. Pretty comfy for Cor


Hall of Fame
Looking into individual sets a little more closely, Moya’s standard dropping in all areas (serve strength, return consistency, ground consistency + force) levels the playing field, with Cor remaining about the same

Gradually, Cor’s standard goes up some. He gets higher lot of strong, powerful or/and wide serves in (not regularly, but more than before). He has consistency edge, without it improving much and Moya remains more commanding (though a lot less so than before)

Ending of set is a bit chokey from Moya. Returning at 5-5, he’s got 2 break points and misses attacking FHs on both of them - the first to ball that was readily there for it, the other to a normal ball but Cor’s normal ball isn’t too hard to take charge of and it’d been the kind of thing Moya had been doing in first part of match

Cor holds, and Moya advance to 40-0, 1 point away from tiebreak. Doesn’t win another point, losing 3/5 to neutral errors

Things change a little more in fourth set. For the first time, Cor pushes Moya about as much as the other way around. Some good, troubling BH cc’s from Cor around this period. The standard of play is however, the lowest of the match, with regularity of routine errors to routine balls at there highest. The two essentially fall back onto their clay games - apt to fall behind baseline and loop ball in - and not particularly well

In the decider, same dynamic stays, with less sloppiness. Fitness becomes a factor, with Moya tiring more. He lets a few balls go. Some effective dtl shots from Cor near the end

How does it play out in numbers? Match long figures are a skewed due to inequality of 2 parts of match. Moya has better of it overall (wins 3 more points, serves 45 fewer), but with his thrashing level dominance in first part, that means he’s got considerably worse off second part

Serve & Return
First serve in - Cor 58%, Moya 56%
First serve won - Cor 65%, Moya 78%
Second serve won - Cor 53%, Moya 47%

Just what it looks like. Moya stronger serve, Cor slightly better court player. In that light, virtually equal first serve in count is win for Moya

Ace/Service Winner rate (off first serve) - Cor 6%, Moya 15%, confirming Moya with much stronger serve

Not that Cor’s is weak. A little surprisingly, he’s come out ahead in terms of proportion of return FEs drawn to UEs
Return UEs - Cor 11, Moya 9
Return FEs - Cor 19, Moya 23

That’s not influenced by Cor serve-volleying so much more (16 times to 3) because Cor pseudo ‘delay’ serve-volleys - not fully committing himself to the play until after he sees how stretched out he’s got Moya on the return. Most of the return errors he draws serve-volleying would undoubtedly force errors regardless of whether Cor comes in or doesn’t. In fact, his best serves are usually when he serve-volleys

With near equal in-count and decent percentages for both, Moya’s 13% lead in first serve points won looks a better bargain than Cor’s 6% lead in second serve points. Those figures of course, vary across parts of match

1st Part
- 1st serves won - Cor 55%, Moya 89%
- 2nd serve won - Cor 53%, Moya 68%

2nd Part
- 1st serves won - both 72%
- 2nd serve won - Cor 52%, Moya 38%

Couple of surprises there. Cor’s second serve points remaining constant - whether he’s getting bashed or edging matters, but his first serve points won going up

Implication would be he served much better in second part. He does serve better, but not much. Moya’s returning falling and follow-up ability to take charge of any rally (for which serve type becomes almost irrelevant) explains Cor’s first serve winning rate going up. In first part, after returns made, Moya takes charge of all rallies, in second part, Cor remains more in control of his first serve point rallies (and also gets bigger lot of freebies)

Moya’s return not being major factor in his success comes through. He’s got an unseemly 36 runaround FH returns, but they’re neutral shots. Just prefers hitting FHs to BHs - his BH returns are about as effective and consistent. And he can runaround in the ad court without much fear of Cor doing much with the open court that presents

Drop in Moya’s 2nd serve points would be best indicator of how much his standard falls. In second part, that number is worse than action looked. Cor’s 2nd returning is standard (i.e. not too aggressive) stuff, so that doesn’t explain it… bit odd for Cor to win 62% second return points but just 52% second serve points

Play - Baseline & Net
Ground winners - Cor 24, Moya 22
Ground UEs - Cor 48, Moya 50

The winners include returns, passes and net shots

Just what it looks like - not very good. These numbers don’t necessarily indicate poor play - provided action is hard hitting enough to be pressuring, such figures might be fine

Action isn’t ‘hard hitting enough to be pressuring’. It varies considerably across the match, but good chunk of it is who-blinks-first consistency contests, and bulk of hitting is no more than normal/average

Within that context and on a court quick enough that successful shot making is viable, the UE counts are on high side and pure ground-to-ground winners (Cor 14, Moya 13) low. Good lot of FEs from these situations too (though bulk would be passes), so a little better, but still, not great

Baseline rallies are the staple - and that staple isn’t stellar, but staple and total are two different things. Both players frequent net considerably

Rallying to net
- Cor 24/38 or 63%
- Moya 37/50 or 74%

Moya, the more commanding, coming in off strong approaches particularly in first part to do better. Cor coming in less because he’s less commanding, but he also comes in from strong positions - in that light, Moya’s done better on the volley (not in second part alone)

Cor serve-volleys much more. All serve-volleys are off first serves and on them -
- Cor 14/16 or 88%
- Moya 3/3

One reason for Cor staying even on first serve points won in second part with the stronger serving Moya


Hall of Fame
His figure is a little deceptive for the pseduo ‘delayed’ nature of the serve-volleys, but to be clear, they are bona fida serve-volleys (flagrant delays wouldn’t have been marked serve-volleys). Should probably do more of it, given how often his first serve points turn into neutral, but his biggest and best first serves seem to coincide with the serve-volleys. A clue to their being ‘delayed’ is that he never misses a serve when he’s serve-volleying, which is very, very unlikely to happen were he not waiting a touch

Very good volleying from both players. Both with 1 UE, Cor with 21 winners, Moya 18. They don’t miss easy stuff and they volley decisively, leaving passer poor passing chances

Ground UEs though remain biggest factor. Totals are close, but different in the make-up. Ordered by consistency, UEs read -
- Cor BH 17
- Moya BH 24 & Moya FH 26
- Cor FH 31

And UE types -
- Neutral - Cor 30, Moya 23
- Attacking Cor 8, Moya 16
- Winner Attempts - Cor 11, Moya 12

… confirming dynamic of Moya overall more aggressive and also faltering trying to so be

Cor BH starring of consistency. Moya’s BH looks a little clumsy at times. In general as well as here, his penchant for taking FHs as much as possible suggests a dislike for BHs, but usually, its steady enough shot. This is the most awkward I’ve seen it look, even so, its not loose to faulty degree, Cor’s is secure to a commendable one

Cor with more neutral UEs is a key point. Consistency is his bread & butter, so if he’s trailing there, how is he coming up on top?

Moya stumbling on the attacking UEs part of the answer. He has forced 6 more errors as well as made double the attacking UEs, so its not to large extent, but Cor is much more efficient in attacking
Ratio of errors forced to attacking UEs - Cor 3.25, Moya 2

Finally, Cor actually ends up leading winners 45-40
With errors forced thrown in, aggressively ended point read Cor 71, Moya 72
And UEs Cor 49, Moya 51

Almost identical. Well as both players have done at net, they’d probably do better to come in even more. Both volley well enough as to suggest they could handle themselves manufacturing approaches (i.e. not coming in from strong positions only), as well as coming in to finish

Neither are particularly efficient in aggressively finishing from the back, where things tend to end with UEs. Look at the winner attempt UEs - with just 1 volley UE each - those are all baseline shots. Both players have about as many misses as actual winners from the back - that’s poor. And compare to their net numbers

Cor showing better judgement in when and how often to come in (including his serve-volleying). Sometimes, it’s a good thing to not have options so making a choice is easier. Moya might (and does) err on side of trying to finish with big FHs. Lacking such a choice, Cor serve-volleys or comes to net - and he’s a lot better finishing there than Moya is from the back. Moya’s just as good at finishing at net, but has 1 extra choice - and his choices aren’t always the best

Match Progression
Moya breaks to start, mostly a poor game from Cor who misses a putaway volley on break point. That’s fifth point of the match and he doesn’t have another volley UE in matches remaining 328

Cor’s under the gun again in his second service game, which manages to hold, saving a couple break points along the way. Particularly good BH-BH rally on the second break point which goes into sharp angled territory before Cor finishes with a FH inside-in winner

And Cor’s broken to end the set in a 14 point game. In between, Moya breezes through his holds in about 2 minutes

More of the same in second set. Moya holds to 15 to open, then breaks to 30, wrapping up with a net point. Cor endures 16 and 10 point holds later, while Moya if anything, holds even more rapidly than first set

Moya needing 8 points (no break points) to serve out is the brightest light of hope Cor has seen all match

Upto this point, things have been a mismatch. Moya serving big, getting good lot of freebies and commanding baseline action with his FH. Cor’s average serve meanwhile is readily returned and even in ‘neutral’ rallies, he’s in reactive position, with Moya seeming to be able to take charge from there regularly

Both players play to their opponents supposed weaker side. Cor’s FH is shakey against power, Moya’s a little clumsy early on on his BH and with room for improvement on the running FH. Both things get better from Moya in second set and he comes to net more often to finish

Things change on a dime in the third set, even as Cor endures a 10 point hold to open. He’s not being bossed around so much. Moya’s serving power, returning consistency and ability to dominate baseline all take a tumble down to Cor’s level

Two trade breaks starting at 2-1, and its Moya who has to save a break point to reach 4-4

Serving at 5-5, Cor faces 2 break points on which rallies develop. Moya loses both points to attacking FH errors - first to a short ball that was there for the approach attempt, second going for a wide cc short. Good BH dtl pass winner by Cor to seal the game. Set having been equal is a big 2-3 steps up for him, but Moya’s still more in charge than not

Moya advancing to 40-0 with a net point, a third ball FH inside-out winner and an ace scarcely diminishes that impression, but remarkably, he’s broken from there. 3 loose errors go into it, but before 2 of them, he seems to have the game in the bag at net only for Cor to pull of a running FH dtl pass

Play changes again to even more equal in the fourth set and for first time, Cor pushes Moya around as much as the other way around. Both players fall back some, and baseline action is clay-court like. Cor scores with some wide BH cc’s

Couple of tough holds for Cor, but no break points faced and he breaks late in the set in a good game - perfect block BH inside-out return winner to start, a lovely BH dtl - FH dtl 1-2 to end another point afterward. Moya double faults on second break point and Cor serves it out to send things to decider

Fitness becomes an issue there. Equality of consistency and bossiness in baseline rallies, but Cor is fresher, Moya sometimes letting balls go. Moya eventually starts going for a few desperate dtl winners (usually missing). Cor goes for them too near the end - only clinically and he makes most

Trade of breaks to leave things at 3-2, so add ‘up a break in the 5th set’ to matches’ 3 line summary

Starting at 4-4, there are 3 breaks on the trot, by which time, Cor is clearly physically the more vibrant. He breaks to love but can’t serve it out, despite making 8/10 first serves. Good take charge play from Moya in the game, even if it has the look of pushing the limits of what he has left

It shows the game after. At 30-30, Moya tiredly misses 2 third balls - 1 a slow, easy ball the second a routine one to be broken again and leave Cor serving for the match again

30-0 down, Moya nails a BH dtl winner (he missed a few similar shots in last few games) and pinches a point at net to get to 30-30, but misses another BH dtl right after to bring up match point for Cor. Appropriately, Cor finishes with a serve-volley point - the thing he’d done best all match

Summing up, a remarkable turnaround result and ultimately, a gruelling physical test. Moya plays superbly to overwhelm Corretja and open up a 2 sets lead - powerful serving, regular returning and commanding the baseline

All that drops like a stone and rest of match is like a quick baseline grind, with serve-return complex even. Corretja is a little steadier from the back, fitter at the end and smarter in his balance of coming to net to finish (including with serve-volleying) than his opponent to come away with the win