Match Stats/Report - Edberg vs Agassi, Indian Wells final, 1990


Hall of Fame
Stefan Edberg beat Andre Agassi 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(1), 7-6(6) in the Indian Wells final, 1990 on hard court

The two would also contest the Miami final immediately afterwards, where Agassi would win. At the year end championship, they would meet twice - Edberg winning the round robin match, Agassi the final

Edberg won 166 points, Agassi 160

Edberg serve-volleyed off majority of first serves and occasionally of seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (107/160) 67%
- 1st serve points won (68/107) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (25/53) 47%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (40/160) 25%

- 1st serve percentage (119/166) 72%
- 1st serve points won (71/119) 60%
- 2nd serve points won (22/47) 47%
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/166) 10%

Serve Patterns
Edberg served...
- to FH 23%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 9%

Agassi served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 1%

Return Stats
Edberg made...
- 148 (57 FH, 90 BH, 1 ??), including 5 runaround FHs & 18 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 12 Unforced (3 FH, 9 BH)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (148/165) 90%

Agassi made...
- 119 (32 FH, 87 BH), including 7 runaround FHs
- 8 Winners (1 FH, 7 BH)
- 35 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 30 Forced (9 FH, 21 BH)
- Return Rate (119/159) 75%

Break Points
Edberg 6/18 (10 games)
Agassi 6/17 (10 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Edberg 51 (9 FH, 4 BH, 12 FHV, 15 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 10 OH)
Agassi 60 (19 FH, 30 BH, 2 FHV, 7 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BHOH)

Edberg had 17 from serve-volley points
- 8 first volleys (1 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 OH)
- 8 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 BHV)

- 7 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 OH)

- FHs - 4 cc passes (1 return that Agassi left), 2 non-pass cc (1 return), 1 dtl, 1 lob and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 1 cc pass (a net chord pop over), 2 dtl and 1 net chord dribbler return

Agassi had 35 passes - 28 regulars (13 FH, 14 BH, 1 BHV) and 7 returns (1 FH, 7 BH)
- FH regulars - 4 cc, 1 cc/inside-in, 4 dtl (1 at net), 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in and 1 lob
- BH regulars - 9 cc and 5 dtl
- the BHV was a lob from the baseline
- FH returns - 1 inside-in
- BH returns - 3 cc, 2 dtl and 2 inside-in

- regular (non-pass) FHs - 3 cc (1 at net, 1 not clean) and 2 inside-out
- regular BHs - 5 cc (1 at net) and 4 dtl,

- 3 from serve-volley points
- 2 first volleys (2 BHV)
- 1 second volley (1 BHV)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Edberg 82
- 41 Unforced (11 FH, 18 BH, 1 FHV, 8 BHV, 3 OH)
- 41 Forced (11 FH, 14 BH, 4 FHV, 11 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)… with 1 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50.3

Agassi 74
- 44 Unforced (20 FH, 15 BH, 2 FHV, 6 BHV, 1 OH)… with 1 FH at net & 1 BH running-down-drop-volley at net
- 30 Forced (10 FH, 17 BH, 2 BHV, 1 Tweener)… with 3 FH running-down-drop-volley at net & 1 BH running-down-drop-volley at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.0

(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
Edberg was...
- 87/153 (57%) at net, including...
- 49/91 (54%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 42/76 (55%) off 1st serve and..
- 7/15 (47%) off 2nd serve
- 12/18 (67%) return-approaching

Agassi was...
- 33/60 (55%) at net, including...
- 9/15 (60%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/3 (33%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
High quality and tough match, especially the first two sets. Next to nothing in it between the two in play - some poor errors from Agassi in the final set tiebreak (to a lesser extent, the first too) in particular shifts the final result Edberg's way

Note near identical break point numbers - Edberg 6/18 (10 games), Agassi 6/17 (10 games). Numbers that close with so many break points and games with them in it is very rare and its even more strange because the players go separate ways in how effective they are on return throughout the match. Sometimes its Edberg threatening while holding serve comfortably, sometimes the opposite... and also spells of both threatening at same time. Generally, holds are not easy and there are plenty of competitive holds

Fitness is also a factor. From about half-way in the third set, Agassi's level drops noticeably. He becomes more error prone, less apt to run down balls, more careless on the return and serves downright gently (unlike earlier in match). And looks tired, occasionally obviously out of breath (the match is filled with long baseline rallies). Though Edberg shows no overt signs of tiredness, I suspect he felt the strain of the match too. His returning standard dips. In this sense, the match is similar to the pair's '95 Washington match in brutally hot conditions - both were tired, Edberg hid it better, until he couldn't. Here, he never shows signs of tiredness, but his play does dip along the lines of being fatigued

Its a particularly slow hard court. Neither player can hit through it with any penetration. Note the low unreturned rates (25% for Edberg, 10% for Agassi) and aces/service winners (5 for the match - all from Edberg). Its also very windy. Edberg misses some first serves by spectacularly large margins, while serving at high 67% in rate. In that light, the baseline action is good. Against a general standard, its decent at least but less than great certainly... but its common for less windy conditions to completely wreck comparable players' ability to do anything but lop the ball in court

Agassi is swearing like a pirate through the match, to exaggerate a bit. Did they have no rules covering this at the time? Don't recall hearing a player swearing with such little restraint for so long without garnering the umpire's attention as he does. The umpire I believe is the same guy who defaulted John McEnroe (justifiably) from the Australian Open shortly before

Edberg's serve-volley frequency
From the get-go, Edberg regularly stays back off first serves. In total, he serve-volleys off 75% off his first serves and 29% off seconds - low rates for him. Its a good idea. Agassi is hammering returns and doing so early... even 'regulation' returns are yielding at least not-easy first volleys and usually more than that. Note low 8 first volley winners

He's also slightly surprisingly, doing very well staying back. Sans aces/service winners, Edberg wins 21/26 first serve points or 81%, which is a lot better than the 42/76 or 55% he does when serve-volleying behind it. No concrete explanation for it

He does tend to serve harder first serves when staying back - in general, as well as this match, though he rarely stays back in general too. Not hard enough to draw many errors or take control of points though
He doesn't come in early on such points either. Mostly, plays orthodox, baseline tennis - perhaps coming in if he gets a short ball or opens the court with an angle - but little of that going on. In other words, action on these points is just standard, baseline tennis. Why would Stefan Edberg end up winning 81% of such points? Its odd and there's no consistent pattern to how he wins these points - mostly Agassi UEs from the baseline from neutral rallies

Serve & Return
Neither player has a hard serve and on slow court, returning is more than comfortable. Its easy - or at least, the two make it look so

Agassi returns first serves from on the baseline, taking a step into court as he strikes. Against second serves, he's regularly standing just inside the baseline and rarely, well inside. He's not overwhelming with the return shot - 8 return winners is fairly conservative for him against a serve-volleying Edberg - but heavy and troubling. And consistent - even more than the high 75% return rate hints it

That 75% includes periods when he's returning carelessly, probably due to fatigue. in the 4 return games during which he's up a break in the 4th set, his return rate falls to 61% and he has 4 of his 5 return UEs. Sans that period, Agassi returns 110/136 or 81%... a staggeringly high figure against regular serve-volleying and returning as early and heavy as he does

Agassi's serve is below average of force, but he throws them in best he can for 2 and a bit sets. He serve-volleys a bit too and throws out his best serves at those times, which are decent. For the last most-of-2-sets, he's just rolling serves in gently as you can. His first serves don't just look like second serves, but weak ones

Edberg's return showing has points of similarity with Agassi's too. 90% return rate is obviously outstanding, but he returns even more consistently than that figure would indicate. in the 4th set, he misses 7 returns (all unforced, all but 1 against a rolled in serve). Sans the return games of the 4th set, he makes 123/133 returns or 92%. His return rate for the for the black hole period where Agassi, serving as gently as possible holds to love 3/6 times is 25/32 or 78% by contrast

My feeling is Edberg was tired at the time, though he doesn't show it

Note Edberg winning 12/18 points return-approaching and note the very high 7 winners from them (by contrast, he has 17 winners from 91 serve-volley points). There was scope for him to do much more return-approaching in the last 2 sets. He's disinclined to try against Agassi's indistinguishable-from-2nd-serve 1st serves
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Hall of Fame
In a nutshell, ordinary serving from Edberg, outstanding consistent + heavy, early returning from Agassi on one hand. On the other, ordinary to weak serving from Agassi, outstandingly consistent but flagging a little of attacking intent on the return from Edberg

Play - Baseline
Baseline action is slow like a clay court and most points end with unforced errors. Agassi looks to boss the points, and leads with BH cc'ng. It doesn't work. Though heavier of shot, Edberg's able to put balls back in play comfortably. That first line of 'attack' not coming off, Agassi throws in a good number of BH moonballs throughout the match. Edberg passively waits on these balls and puts them back in play safely

The most telling stat here would be UEs in play. Baseline UEs - Edberg 29, Agassi 33. Trailing Agassi by so slim a margin is a comparative win for Edberg. Agassi would also have forced a few errors and hits 12 winners to Edberg's 7, so he is the better player from the back, but not as comfortably as might be expected. In the Miami match that followed, the gap was vast by contrast

Agassi with 20 FH UEs to 15 BHs. That's due to a slow FH start (he has 6 after 2 games - 3 in 4 points to get broken and 3 in a row to lose a return game from break point up). He's about equally consistent of both sides, preferring playing neutral BHs

Edberg with 11 FH UEs to 18 BHs. Quite normal for him - while BH looks more elegant and the FH can look stilted, there's little if any difference in effectiveness of the 2 shots. This is a consistent pattern in his matches and belies his reputation for having weak FH but also particularly strong BH

A good chunk of Agassi's errors come from trying to hit the ball too hard. It wasn't worth it... even hitting so hard, he can't beat Edberg down. Edberg's errors are more a product of natural error rate

Edberg's brisk movement is a key factor in his holding up from the baseline. Agassi does move him about moderately and is at times quite heavy of shot, but Edberg is fleet to reach balls in good time

In a nutshell, above norm from Edberg and wise in his play. Below norm from Agassi and a bit unwise in going for too much when it wasn't paying off. I'd more credit Edberg's movement, defence and retrieving then discredit Agassi's choices on the whole though

Play - Volley & Passing
In numbers, the two are very similar

- Net points won - Edberg 57%, Agassi 55%
- Serve-volleying - Edberg 60%, Agassi 60%
- Points from rallying to net - Edberg 26/44, Agassi 24/45

They get their in separate ways, leaving aside Edberg coming forward far more often. Edberg at net and Agassi on the pass are both top notch. By contrast, Agassi at net and Edberg on the pass are below average at best

Agassi's volleying is poor and a real problem for him. Though not able to outlast or outmanuver Edberg regularly, he is the bossier player from the back. Showing sound strategy, he starts taking net to finish points, including with serve-volleys. His approaches are strong enough that much of the volleying could be seen as a formality

Only he misses those formalities. 9 volleying/OH UEs (+ 2 groundstrokes) at net and many are downright easy balls. Edberg has 12 forecourt UEs by contrast, coming in 2.5 times more - and his errors are to less easy balls. With decent volleying - and his approaches are such that that's all he'd need - Agassi could still retain healthy advantage, despite Edberg thwarting him from the back. He can't count it though because his volleying is too poor. In particular, he misses going for cute drop volleys. Probably just immaturity on show here. Good job by Edberg to put passes in play... against Agassi' that's sufficient to win the odd point. That doesn't seem to be his design, its all he can muster, often from defensive positions that the approach has put him in. Ordinary passing from Edberg on the whole, worse than that from Agassi on the volley

approaches from rallying are a by-product of Agassi's edge from the baseline. He's 24/45 in these points to Edberg's near identical 26/44. Agassi comes in from commanding play, Edberg manufactures approaches from neutral scenarios.... the virtually equal frequency speaks to Agassi being stronger from the back. The virtually equal success rate is attributable to volleying quality

The Edberg volley vs Agassi pass is a fantastic battle and I'd say Agassi edges it

Very few easy first volleys for Edberg. The simplest ones are routine of position but hit a bit harder (and taken earlier) by Agassi.... it takes good volleying to cope with even that. Agassi, had he been on the receiving end of something similar, would very likely have made a hash of it. There's a healthy amount of simply overpowering ones too

Note low 8 first volley winners, which is equal to the number of second volley ones, an indicator of quality of Agassi's return. 9 volleying UEs for Edberg too. Most aren't easy... the type of balls that can be put in play and but not putaway. Edberg isn't too good on the OH though, has 3 UEs and doesn't deal decisively with them. This seems to be a common thing at this period of his career, which is in line with my memories

If anything, Agassi's even stronger on the pass from play. Leaving aside all the winners and 17 forecourt errors he forces, he gives Edberg very little that's not tough. Power is and wide placement are his weapons, but he's also able to dip passes in low when that isn't possible. Agassi's excellent both at 1 shot passes and 1-2 combinations (draw weak volley + pass winner)

Generally speaking, Edberg isn't called to make too many 1/2volleys in his matches, a product of his being so quick to net and not serving too hard. He's called to in this match and usually makes them, though wholly defensively. More than usual drop and stop volleys from Stefan too... somewhat but not wholly due to not being in control enough to be able to choose to volley deep. Mostly coming in to Agassi's BH and with Agassi going cc on the pass, Agassi BH pass and Edberg BHV are center stage of the battle - both firing and both under fire

Agassi errs some in not utilizing lobs more. With Edberg shakey on the OH, it was well worth it
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Hall of Fame
Match Progression
Edberg breaks to start the match and then holds a 14 point game, saving 3 break points. Some bad FH errors from Agassi in these games, though the FH that's called out as he's broken was probably in

Many tough games follow on both players serve. Baseline points are long. Agassi hitting hard, but Edberg holding steady. Agassi breaks back in game 4, wrapping up 3 passing sinners. Finding he can't finish points from the back, Agassi takes to serve-volleying. He's broken doing so, having left a return that lands in for a winner and missing an easy, high BHV

There's a fantastic shot from Agassi. Edberg hits a sharp volley to Agassi's feet, but the latter is able to get his racquet under the ball on the baseline and lob it for a winner. Technically, its a BHV

Edberg plays a not dissimilar shot early in the second set, reflex volleying a net-to-net Agassi hard hit pass for a lob winner. Two easy forecourt misses sees Edberg get broken and tough games continue to be the norm after. Both players manage to hold their serves through it. Agassi fails to serve the set when he misses 3 attempted drop volleys - 2 easy, 1 pretty easy. He breaks to take the set though when he punishes the second-serve-volleying Edberg with hard returns

Players trade breaks to start the third. Agassi makes poor errors in getting broken - missing a third ball drop shot attempt and a BH moonball one after running Edberg around - and Edberg finishes with a nice BH dtl approach and FHV winner. Edberg opens next game with 2 OH errors and Agassi finishes with a pair of passing winners

Quality of play falls thereafter, with fatigue, particularly from Agassi likely behind it. Agassi ceases to serve with any strength or serve-volley. His first serve for rest of the match is indistinguishable from the second - and both are weak. His movement also slows down and groundstroke consistency falls too. Still, on return and passing, he remains dangerous

Edberg doesn't take advantage. Agassi wins just 4/15 second serve points but a reasonable 18/30 first serves, though there's little difference between the two. He starts missing odd returns too. He'd missed a total of 5 in the first two sets (4 against serve-volleying) when Agassi was serving a lot harder but misses 12 in the last 2
There are a couple more breaks - 4 passing winners from Agassi to break and mostly baseline errors to be broken. Tiebreak is one way traffic with Agassi playing more poorly than Edberg playing well

All the momentum is with Edberg starting the fourth, but he's broken to love to open in a poor game. And Agassi holds more easily than he'd done all match from thereon. Edberg survives another difficult hold where the two players combine for 8 winners in 10 points

Agassi serves for the set after. The key point is his missing a simple FH at net to go down 30-40. Edberg also presses him by coming to net. Edberg breaks with a FH cc pass winner

Excellent tiebreak from Edberg. For one thing, he serves 2 of his 4 aces in it, return-approaches and takes net regularly. Agassi wins just 1 service point. Agassi also strikes with strong returns and passes but misses a sitter of a FH dtl winner attempt from well inside court at 5-6. He'd also muffed a running-down-drop-shot at net that he'd got to in good time earlier. Appropriately, Edberg finishes on a high with a return-approach that forces an error. The way Edberg returns and attacks doing so in the tiebreak brings home how much he didn't for the set

Summing up, a very good, even and all court match. Edberg refrains from coming to net too much out of (wise) respect for Agassi's passing and returning and handles himself from the baseline with good consistency and top class movement. Agassi comes in a good amount after finding he can't end points from the back. Lapses by Agassi - missing easy volleys in front of court and extra hard hit groundies - on hand are balanced against first class passing on the other. Edberg's just a bit steadier - coping with Agassi's very challenging power passing/returning and holding him off from the baseline - and the fitter, to gain a well earned win

@BringBackWood & @BeatlesFan might enjoy this

Stats for the rematch right after in Miami final -
Stats for the pair's YEC clashes at end of year -


Bionic Poster
@Waspsting Thank you for all this. I actually saw this match live, though with lousy seats. I loved both Stefan and Andre, so it was hard to choose who to root for.

I wish there was one match played today with this much variety, instead of just endlessly baseline grinding.


Yes I have this tape with great commentary from Gerulaitis. I think the wind was a big factor in Edberg staying back on 1/4 of 1st serves. Good point about Edberg winning 80% of 1st serves staying back, despite the neutral rally. I think we underestimate the unconsious shift in mentality when serving and receiving. Strange S & V attempts and general bad shot selection when flustered appear to be feature of young Agassi, who I think is more fun to watch than his much more disciplined later incarnation. Edberg much like Rafter, had the speed and defensive shots, to be able to frustrate a baseliner who wasn't great at the net. At least the younger Agassi tried getting to net.


Hall of Fame
@BeatlesFan - my pleasure. I remember you mentioning you'd been at this one
Was nice to see fan support split. I guess Edberg was universally popular everywhere

I miss this era of pro tennis. Today’s tennis just doesn’t have the same complexity.
I wish there was one match played today with this much variety, instead of just endlessly baseline grinding.

Couldn't agree more

Modern matches... I could write a master report of the players general playing patterns and for each match, just refer people to it, noting point a, b and c were particularly up and point x, y, z were down for a given match. Describe play with a formula

Can't do that with these older matches. And I think early '90s is the most complex of all because baseline power was on the up and "attacking baseline play" had become a thing (unlike earlier where "attacking" meant coming to net)

Wilander-Lendl US Open finals are probably the two most complex matches I've statt-ed

Good point about Edberg winning 80% of 1st serves staying back, despite the neutral rally. I think we underestimate the unconsious shift in mentality when serving and receiving

Its something I've started keying in on recently. I statt-ed a bunch of Nadal-Djokovic matches on clay, with ordinary serving, long rallies but huge differences between 1st and 2nd serve points won - and it struck me

With rallies that long and unreturned serves low... most points should be 50-50 affairs. Instead, I see differences of 20+% between first serve and second serve points won

young Agassi, who I think is more fun to watch than his much more disciplined later incarnation.

By far, I agree

Edberg much like Rafter, had the speed and defensive shots, to be able to frustrate a baseliner who wasn't great at the net. At least the younger Agassi tried getting to net.

I recently statt-ed the '90 Aus final with Lendl and its the same thing there. Edberg hold steady from the back... and Lendl's playing particulary well, better than Agassi here, who's a bit prone to loose errors

Something that hurts Edberg is lack of a FH inside-out to approach off. He almost never plays FH inside-out... its a good way to find net to the right handers BH

I think the wind was a big factor in Edberg staying back on 1/4 of 1st serves.

I'd have though so but he did do the same in Miami

Here, he serve-volleys off 76/102 first serves or 74.5%
In Miami, it would be 50/65 or 76.9%

Agassi standing on the baseline and whacking returns on the up is the type of thing that'd make you think twice about serve-volleying. Makes Lendl (and Wilander's) returning at AO look like a pop gun