Match Stats/Report - Edberg vs Chang, US Open semi-final, 1992

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Stefan Edberg beat Michael Chang 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-4 in the US Open semi-final, 1992 on hard court

Edberg, who was seeded second, would go onto defend his title by beating Pete Sampras in the final. Chang was seeded and fourth and this was the second time he’d reached semi at a Slam, following his title run at French Open 1989 where he beat Edberg in the final. The two had met in the fourth round the previous year with Edberg having won en route to the title

Edberg won 209 points, Chang 195

Edberg serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve and majority off second serves

(Note: I’m missing 1 Edberg service point, won by Chang and I’ve made educated guesses regarding serve type for 6-10 points

Missing point - Set 3, Game 3, Point 1)

Serve Stats
Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (106/210) 50%
- 1st serve points won (68/106) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (46/104) 44%
- ?? serve point (0/1)
- Aces 10 (1 not clean), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 18
- *Unreturned Serve Percentage (45/211) 21%

(*Per commentary, the missing point was not a double fault and has thus been marked as returned and Unreturend Serve Percentage and Chang's Return Rate are complete figures)

Chang...
- 1st serve percentage (134/193) 69%
- 1st serve points won (75/`34) 56%
- 2nd serve points won (23/59) 39%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/193) 13%

Serve Patterns
Edberg served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 49%
- to Body 17%

Chang served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 43%
- to Body 8%

Return Stats
Edberg made...
- 164 (83 FH, 81 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 44 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 23 Errors, comprising...
- 12 Unforced (7 FH, 5 BH), including 3 return-approach attempts
- 11 Forced (4 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (164/189) 87%

Chang made...
- 148 (64 FH, 83 BH, 1 ??), including 9 runaround FHs & 3 return-approaches
- 16 Winners (8 FH, 8 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 33 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH) both runaround FHs
- 31 Forced (14 FH, 17 BH)
- Return Rate (148/193) 77%

Break Points
Edberg 12/21 (15 games)
Chang 11/34 (17 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Edberg 67 (5 FH, 5 BH, 16 FHV, 29 BHV, 12 OH)
Chang 64 (24 FH, 27 BH, 7 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH)

Edberg had 33 from serve-volley points
- 19 first volleys (5 FHV, 14 BHV)
- 13 second volleys (3 FHV, 5 BHV, 5 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 BHV)

- 13 from return-approach points (2 FHV, 6 BHV, 5 OH)

- 1 other FHV was a pass from behind service line and has not been marked a net point

- FH passes - 1 cc, 2 dtl (1 return) and 1 lob
- BH passes - 2 cc and 2 dtl (1 return)

- regular FH - 1 inside-in return
- regular BH - 1 dtl at net

Chang had 48 passes - 15 returns (6 FH, 9 BH) & 33 regular (17 FH, 16 BH)
- FH returns - 1 cc, 2 dtl (1 runaround), 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in (1 can reasonably be called a lob)
- BH returns - 2 cc, 2 dtl, 4 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- regular FHs - 8 cc (2 at net), 3 dtl, 3 inside-out (1 at net) and 3 lobs
- regular BHs - 7 cc, 5 dtl, 1 longline/cc at net and 3 lobs

- regular (non-pass) FH - 1 cc return
- regular BHs - 1 dtl, 1 inside-out at net

- 3 from serve-volley points (2 FHV, 1 BHV), all first volleys

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Edberg 87
- 36 Unforced (6 FH, 9 BH, 7 FHV, 12 BHV, 2 OH)... with 1 BH pass attept
- 51 Forced (5 FH, 14 BH, 13 FHV, 17 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net & 1 BHV was on the FHV side of the body
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.4

Chang 93
- 27 Unforced (3 FH, 17 BH, 6 BHV, 1 OH)... with 1 BH at net, 1 BHV was a swinging baseline shot (a pass attempt) & 1 OH was on the bounce from the baseline
- 66 Forced (19 FH, 38 BH, 2 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 1 BHOH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.5

(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 this match are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Edberg was....
- 142/252 (56%) at net, including...
- 89/159 (56%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 56/93 (60%) off 1st serve and...
- 33/66 (50%) off 2nd serve
---
- 27/44 (61%) return-approaching
- 1/3 (33%) forced back/retreated

Chang was...
- 43/72 (60%) at net, including...
- 11/21 (52%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 11/20 (55%) off 1st serve and...
- 0/1 off 2nd serve
---
- 1/3 (33%) return-approaching
- 0/3 forced back/retreated

Match Report
An epic and gritty struggle that lasts over 5 hours and remains competitive on level of games as well as sets from start to stop. Edberg comes up on top at the end, but there’s nothing in it between the 2 players. Court is on slow side of normal

While all the sets are close, they follow the same story, other than the last
- 1 player races out to early lead
- other player fights back to equality
- the first player recovers to win the set

Pattern’s broken in last set. Chang’s the one that goes up early. He’s up a break on 2 different occasions (as in, Edberg breaks back after trailing and then Chang breaks again to go up again), but a run of of winning 12/13 points (including 2 breaks to love) leaves Edberg serving for the match. Which he does, after surviving a break point

Facing, if not surviving, break points is the norm rather than the exception in the match

Edberg faces them in 17/29 service games. He wins 18, loses 11 of those games
Chang faces them in 15/29 service games. He wins 17, loses 12 of those games

There are 55 break points in the match. I can’t think of a match that has more. The same pair shared 39 break points in their ‘89 French Open final. To exaggerate, this match makes that one look like a stroll in the park

For all the toughness and closeness, playing dynamics are simple and consummately captured with a few choice words

- Edberg serve-volleys most of the time, making his service games serve-volleying vs return-pass. Chang is fantastic in his return, his follow-up passing and his scrambling after volleys - both in terms of consistency and being damaging. Edberg’s got his work cut out to hold - and doesn’t very regularly

- Chang’s serve is weak and Edberg returns it easily to get into games. Edberg seeks net as much as possible, including with the return itself (not limited to against 2nd serves) and while Chang continues to pass and scramble superbly, hitting passes so often just to hold serve isn’t a great outlook for Chang’s prospects of holding. And he doesn’t very regularly

So Chang wisely comes to net a good amount too, including significant amount of serve-volleying to finish aggressively. To good, but short of great effect. He volleys surely (close to as much as Edberg himself) and Edberg passes well (nowhere near as well as Chang, which isn’t at all a reasonable basis of comparison)

Both men ‘don’t hold serve very regularly’ to same extent - as suggested by break point figures - leaving not just each set, but games to be fought out toughly. One hell of a battle

Match has 404 points
Edberg serves 211 of them and wins 209, Chang serves 193 and wins 195. Nothing in that between the two

Edberg’s at net for 252/404 of those points or 62% of those points. Sans ones he has no chance (I.e. aces, service winners and double faults) and an unknown point, that figure rises to 252/367 or 69% of all points. He wins 56% of all his net points and slightly surprisingly, gets better of baseline points too - which together, should be putting him over. It doesn't because Chang's effective at net too, winning a higher 60% while coming in relatively high 72 times himself

Edberg’s serve games

Edberg’s faced with tough volleys first up. Even the ones above net are coming at him hard due to Chang taking returns early (he’s around the baseline at least, and often further up when returning) and striking cleanly. Or they’re crampingly close to his body. And they’re relentless (Chang returns at 77%). And those are the minority. More often, returns are some combo of down low, wide and/or particularly powerful

Chang’s returning shapes play so that Edberg’s scope to shine on the volley is more about dealing with difficult ones, not giving up errors and somehow finding damaging volleys than it is dispatching routine volleys - and forget easy ones. An easy, putaway volley is a gift for Edberg and Chang’s particularly stingy

All that, returning at 77%. I’d estimate returning like this at 60% to be good for breaking enough to win a ‘normal match’ (this isn’t normal, with Chang’s serve also constantly under threat) and 65% at this calibre damaging would be a great showing by any standard. He does all that at 77% - increadible job by Chang on the return. Its a bouncy court and Chang takes returns (and other passes too) around chest and shoulder high. No matter, still pounds them

He’s got Edberg in all kinds of troubles. Early on, Edberg double faults a ton of times. Soon after, he changes his default, close-to-the-body serving and tries for powerful, wide serving. Essentially, he’s looking for aces, service winners and other ‘hard’ forced return errors that won’t require volleying. As far up as Chang returns from, its a good idea

Edberg has for him high 10 aces and 2 service winners, so it to an extent, it doesn’t not work. There’s a particularly crucial hold in the the decider where he serves 2 aces and hard forces a return error to hold
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
There’s also just 50% first serves in and 18 double faults. It doesn’t exactly work either… I’d say more doesn’t than does

Edberg starts match volleying cc, in standard fashion. Chang runs after and gets to everything possible and throws up more and more passes and lobs for Edberg to deal with. Not long into match, Edberg takes to volleying line regularly. Few misses as a result, but worth it to wrong foot Chang and go for winners and not have to worry about a volleying work-out

Chang’s serve games
No demons in Chang’s serve and Edberg returns easily to tune of 87% unreturned rate. Chang has just 1 ace (and 1 service winner) from 134 first serves and and not only have 12/23 Edberg return errors been marked UEs, most of the 11 that haven’t are due to Chang serve-volleying rather than strength of the serve

There is a demon for Chang in Edberg’s return-approaching. Edberg does so a huge 44 times (+3 errors trying) and wins 61% of those. Which is more than he does any other type of approaching -

1st serve-volleying - wins 60%
2nd serve-volleying - wins 50%
Rallying to net - 26/49 or 53%

… so good job by Chang to keep the double faults down to just 4. Not that Edberg’s shy to return-approach against first serves either, but bulk are against second serves

Chang serve-volleys a bit too and is 11/21 so doing. Rest of action starts with baseline rally.

Off the ground, Chang’s harder hitter and leads rallies, but its Edberg that proves slightly more consistent. While Edberg’s FH looks stilted and not-strong (‘weak’ is a fair description too), it holds up, against Chang’s solid hitting. On BH, Chang still leads the hitting and Edberg looks smoother but is similarly, relegated to counter-punching to keep rally going, including with slices from pushed-back positions. And Chang’s BH proves the least dependent shot on show - by a long way

Nearly all points that stay baseline-to-baseline end with UEs and ground UEs read -

- Chang 21, Edberg 14 (with groundstrokes at net excluded, baseline volleys and OHs included) and breakdown of UEs are -
- Chang FH 3
- Edberg FH 6
- Edberg BH 8 (excluding a pass attempt)
- Chang BH 16 (excluding a net shot)
- (Chang volleys/OHs 2)

Coming out ahead on this front is huge for Edberg - and you’d think, that on top of the return-approaching would put him comfortably over. It doen’t because as often as not, rallies don’t stay baseline-to-baseline. Chang comes in or Edberg does

Rallying to net -
Chang’s 31/48 or 65%
to Edberg’s 26/49 or 53%

Those are total figures, not confined to Chang’s service games, but higher lot of approaches for Chang would be on his own serve

As stronger hitter of the BH, Chang has more scope to create approaches, though Edberg’s more adventurous and proactive in creating approaches (largely cancelled out by Edberg’s consistency advantage)

What all this is adding up to is Chang barely looks like holding any more than getting broken. Its not a misperception either

In all, he wins 98 and loses 95 service points. Winning 17 and losing 12 service games actually looks like a win for him against that back-drop

He loses his last 11 service points (broken for A-40 and 2 love breaks), so he had a bit more cushion match long than the overall, virtual 50-50 numbers speak to. And that 11th hour run of Edberg’s being exceptional even in a match where returners are constantly threatening (as well as obviously decisive) is brought home still more

Play - Net & Passing and starting Baseline-to-Baseline
Edberg's net numbers comprise -
- 57 winners (16 FHV, 29 BHV, 12 OH, 1 BH)... excluding a FHV from comfortably behind service line
- 21 UEs (7 FHV, 12 BHV, 2 OH)
- 33 FEs (13 FHV, 17 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH, 1 BH running-down-drop-shot)

for a total of 57 winners and 54 errors

on flip side, Chang has 48 passing winners - 15 returns (6 FH, 9 BH) & 33 regular (17 FH, 16 BH) and virtually all his groundstroke 57 FEs (19 FH, 38 BH) would be passes

Finally, low 21% unreturned rate for Edberg, mostly serve-volley points

It all comes out to Edberg winning 56% net points. Not a great number, for the head of the spear. Few points of amplification -

- the winners are difficult to pull off. Anything less than perfect volley is reached by Chang and his firm, early taken returns don't leave much that's readily put-away'able. Still, 19/33 Edberg's serve-volley winners are first volleys. That takes some doing, good job by Edberg given what he's faced with. The 'easy' first volleys he faces aren't easy to putaway and they're the minority

- on top of the winners, much of Chang's passing errors are hard forced ones. He's often forced to reach hopeless ball 1-handed with BH from close to behind him. Edberg controlling things to go to Chang's BH (hence, 38 FEs there, 19 on FH) and also straining to hit wrong-footing volleys down line rather than cc. Anything Chang can play from stable position - whether its through drawing a not-strong volley or running quickly to meet decent volley, he usually puts in play forcefully. Lot of room for Edberg to make volleying FEs

- 21 UEs to 33 FEs by Edberg is probably an under-reflection of what he's up against. This is all in contex of astronomical 252 net points, where 21 UEs isn't too high. There's room for improvement there and Edberg does have his loose and sloppy moments and even phases (helped by straining for more on the volley due to Chang's ability to run almost everything down)

The 33 FEs though is all on Chang. Anything he has semi-decent chance on, he smacks forcefully wide or low. Edberg makes at most, as many tough volleys as he misses. For him, not best showing against the tough stuff, but I'd entirely credit Chang's passing

- The power and placement Chang gets on his passes (including the return) from high balls (chest to shoulder) is amazing. Or on the run or when falling back. Some terrific lobs too and the smash is where Edberg is least convincing at net. Chang's got 6 lob winners (+ 1 pseudo-lob return, an unintentional shot) and draws 3 OH errors. Edberg's got his 12 OH winners to compensate, but that ratio of lob winners vs OH winners is good for the passer on those particular shots, even without the difficulty Edberg has in dealing with the OHs (i.e. his smashing doesn't promise he can keep doing it, and misses aren't surprising)

Off 2nd serves, Edberg serve-volleys 66/86 times or 77% of the time
- serve-volleying, he wins 33/66 or 50%
- staying back, 8/20 or 40%

and with very large 18 double faults thrown in (about 17% of the time) and low 50% in count to begin with, you can see why Edberg's in trouble on his service games. The high, kicky serves don't bother the diminuitive Chang at all, who just whacks them before they can get up too high. "Too high" here being a relative term... good lot are at what would be a problematic, near shoulder height for most player, but not Chang

Chang for his part is 43/72 at net, or 60%. He's got -
- 14 winners (7 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH, 1 BH)... with passes at net excluded
- 6 UEs (5 BHV, 1 BH)
- 9 FEs

With Edberg at net exactly 3.5 times more, comparing their net numbers
- Winners - Edberg 57, Chang 14.... or Edberg 4.0 times more
- UEs - 21 Edberg , Chang 6... Edberg exactly 3.5 times more
- FEs - 33 Edberg , Chang 9... Edberg 3.67 times more

... looks like biggest difference in volley-pass complex contest is Edberg being able to find a way to hit the volley winner a little bit more often.

On flip side, Chang outpassing winners Edberg 48-9 and on non-return passes, 33-7 (ratios of 5.33 and 4.71... well higher than the 3.5 of each players relative approaches
... with ground FEs (a good, but inexact substitute for passing errors), Edberg 19, Chang 57 (ratio 3)

Gist of this.... everything is done well - both players' volleying and both players' passing - with Chang's passing standing out as particulalry good
- on the volley, both do well - Edberg a little bit better. The UE and FE rates are almost same as Chang's volleying, but he's putting volleys away for winners that little bit more often
- on the pass, both do well - Edberg leaves Chang tricky or not easy volleys, but Chang's passing is a class or two above and top class

That's a win for Chang and why Edberg's so pressed to hold. Which would speak well for Chang's chances of winning the match, only he's just as pressed at least to hold himself for 2 main reasons

- Edberg's sure returning at 87%, including a humongous 44 return-approaches (with only 3 errors trying) and winning 61% of those return-approaches. Chang's serve is weak, but still, Edberg's easy returning of it is exceptional. In general, few players make returning look as easy as Stefan Edberg, with his flawless movement on the second shot

- Edberg winning bulk of baseline points somewhat suprisingly, as reflected in ground UE counts -

- Chang 21, Edberg 14 (with groundstrokes at net excluded, baseline volleys and OHs included) and breakdown of UEs are -
- Chang FH 3
- Edberg FH 6
- Edberg BH 8 (excluding a pass attempt)
- Chang BH 16 (excluding a net shot)
- (Chang volleys/OHs 2)

With so few winners hit baseline to baseline (1 to be exactly, a Chang BH dtl), ground battle isn't forceful but a contest of consistency, with both players looking to keep weak balls that allow other to approach down to minimum rather than able to hit strong balls to forcefully end points
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
If those numbers are suggesting Chang errs in leading with BHs, that's inaccurate. Action is dual-winged, with Chang leading and more often than not, doing so off the FH. However feeble Edberg's FH looks, it doesn't crack. Chang enjoys substantial hitting advantage on FH. To lesser extent, of the BH too, but Edberg's able to out-steady him by large amount there.

With baseline attacks ineffective or neither player even trying for it much, play switches to attacker-defender dynamics when someone approaches. Rallying to net -

Chang’s 31/48 or 65%
to Edberg’s 26/49 or 53%

... with Chang coming in off stronger approaches and having more scope to come in as stronger hitter. And the volleying and passing is as described earlier - with addendum of Edberg coming in off relatively low percentage approaches a bit desperately thrown in

Gist of this - Edberg outsteadying the harder hitting Chang from the back, neither play willing or/and able to do much damage from there and attacking play occuring when someone approaches. Chang as heavier hitter with more ready chances to do so, but Edberg more willing. And Chang winning more when coming in based on his advantage on volley-pass battle

Match Progression
Match starts with traded breaks - Edberg breaking to 30 by return-approaching 3 times, Chang hitting back to love with a couple of Edberg doubles and a couple of strong plays from Chang, including a perfect BH lob winner. After Chang holds a deuce game, he moves ahead a break, again half due to strong plays from him and half poor ones from Edberg (missing regulation under-net volley and double faulting on break point)

In all, its a poor set from Edberg. Makes just 24/52 first serves, wins just 9/28 second serve points. Throws in 8 double faults. And with Chang returning and passing powerfully on top of that, he's under severe pressure on serve. Flip side is that he can return easily enough to get into return games

Edberg saves 7 break/set points across 2 games lasting 12 and 14 points. Between them, he sandwiches a break to love with return-approaches to deny Chang serving for the set

Edberg serves 52 points to Chang's 41 in the set and does well to take things to a tiebreak. Its competitive and 3-3 at one stage. Some great returns and passes from Chang and he takes net to claim his 2 service points from 4-3 before flagrantly forcing a BHV error on his 8th set point

By contrast, Edberg races out to 4-0 lead in second set, raising his in-count to 21/37. Chang snatches 2 break back in a long 14 point game but Edberg steps up to serve for the set at 5-3 just as Chang had in the first set

Again, the server is broken to love. This time, a terrible game from Edberg as he misses 3 regulation volleys. He's back on point threatening to break next game, which Chang ends up holding after saving a break point. Edberg breaks first chance after that by crowing net 5/6 points to level the match

3rd set starts with traded breaks like the first, with Edberg breaking again next chance to go up 3-1. Again he serves for the st at 5-3 - and again, is broken. This time, a fantastic game by Chang, who wins last 3 points with FH dtl pass and FH lob winners before Edberg can't handle a FHV at his feet.

There are break points in next 2 games, but servers manage to hold and its on to another tiebreak. Edberg commands it, moving into 6-0 lead. Chang strikes back to back BH dtl passing winners, after forcing FHV error to make score more respectable, but Edberg return-approaches against a first serve to end it 7-3

Chang breaks for 3-1 in the 4th set. By the matches standard, a 'late' break. After Edberg holds for 2-4, there are 3 breaks in a row to put match back on serve. There are break points in next 2 service games also before servers hold to leave Edberg serving at 5-6

Good, strong game by Chang to break, hitting a winner and forcing a pair of volleying errors to send match into decider

All to play for in the decider. Chang breaks in 10 point game to go up 3-0 and Edberg's down 15-40 trying to get on the board. Some particularly strong serving from Edberg gets him out of the game, though not in saving the 2 break points. 2 aces and on game point, a hard forced return error sees him hold for 1-3

2 trade breaks right after. Chang's broken in 14 point game, which has a long series of groundstroke UEs in the middle of game, the last one in the sequence, an Edberg FH approach error to give Chang a second game point. It turns out to be the last service point Chang wins in the match. On game point, he serve-volleys but is met with precise return that yorks him

A chip-charge return brings up Edberg's 3rd break point of the game, in which his lob encourages Chang to abandon net, and Edberg comes in to finish. Back on serve, but right after, Chang regains break with 3 return-pass winners (BH inside-in, Fh inside-in and on break point, BH cc)

Couple of BH UEs, an Edberg net point and on break point, a FH inside-in return winner sees Edberg break to love to put the match back on serve. After holding comfortably, he moves ahead for first time in the set with another love break - passing Chang BH cc to open and forcing passing errors next 3 points (last 2 with return-approaches) - to leave himself serving for the match

Of course, the serve out isn't easy and Edberg double faults for the 18th time and misses an easy BHV to go down break point. Saves it with a first BHV winner before 2 unreturned serves finally puts an end to the match

Summing up, a titantic struggle of a match with 55 break points and 32/58 games having break points in them. Both players are equally under the gun to hold, so match stays very even

Key points of play are Chang's extraordinary counter-net game - powerful returns taken early, terrific passes to anything he isn't hoplessly out of postion for, scramling like the dickens to reach any imperfect volley to give Edberg one more net shot to to play. Threatening Edberg's serve to extent Chang is does is exceptional - and all credit to him for it

Theatening Chang's service games is less of a feat as the serve is not challenging to handle, but Edberg makes it appear even easier than it is in his typical, graceful way. Return-approaching is very successful for him (way Chang passes, that's not a given by any means) and though trailing in hitting strenght, Edbeg's crucially proves more secure off the ground, particularly off the BH. Chang comes to net a fair amount with great success to be aggressive, which he isn't able to do from the back. Plenty of credit to Edberg for consistency of groundstrokes and resisting Chang's hitting

All that keeps things neck and neck and an 11th hour run of success on return sees Edberg just over the line

Stats for the final between Edberg and Pete Sampras - Match Stats/Report - Edberg vs Sampras, US Open final, 1992 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for Edberg's quarter-final with Ivan Lendl - Tri Match Stats/Reports - Edberg vs Lendl, US Open semi-final, 1991, Australian Open & US Open quarter-finals, 1992 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
 

AnOctorokForDinner

Talk Tennis Guru
Man that US Open run from Edberg was wild.

Mythical resilience for sure, physical and mental alike.
Came from a break down in the deciding set in three consecutive matches including the longest USO match ever - this one, the semifinal - then beat Sampras the following day (USO semis were played on Saturday as you likely remember, until early 00s), crucially breaking when Pete served for a 2-1 set lead (or else it would've had to be a fourth consecutive five-setter for Edberg to win!). Ended up playing on four consecutive days up to the final yet still toughed it out. Newspapers called him the marathon man after that.

Tuesday: beat Richard Krajicek 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 4 hours 20 minutes; Krajicek was up a break at *3-2 fifth set (earlier, Edberg was up *6-4 in the tiebreak and netted a makeable volley)

Thursday/Friday: beat Ivan Lendl 6-3 6-3 3-6 5-7 7-6(3) in 4 hours 3 minutes; Lendl was up a break and game point at *4-3 AD-40 fifth set (earlier, Lendl saved triple MP on serve at *4-5 0-40 4th set and broke to move ahead, then it rained and the rest of the match was played out on Friday)

Saturday: beat Michael Chang 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(3) 5-7 6-4 in 5 hours 26 minutes; Chang was up 3-0* 40-15 fifth set (an excruciating match full of breaks and rebreaks, comebacks and chokes, you could write a story about it; every set featured a multi-SP/BP-saving comeback from either player only to still lose it until Edberg completed the final comeback in the fifth)

Sunday: beat Pete Sampras 3-6 6-4 7-6(5) 6-2 in 2 hours 55 minutes; Sampras served for a two-sets-to-one lead at *6-5 third set, got a bit tight and Edberg took it to him. Pete wilted in the fourth set later complaining of stomach cramps; apparently they bothered him in the fourth set of his semifinal as well but he was already up and persevered by hitting through listless Courier who couldn't make him run, Edberg though was different.

All in all, Edberg spent 22 hours and 22 minutes on court playing matches, which is only 4 minutes behind Nadal's losing effort at AO 12 but a considerably bigger portion of his match time compared to Edberg was not spent playing tennis, since Nadal is relatively slow in his preparation (with Djokovic being the same way, the final had over an hour of extra time than if both were as fast as Federer). An absolutely ridiculous display of the will to win, no over-the-top flamboyancy required. Edberg was often up and down as the risky finesse nature of his game made it less secure than those of still greater players, but he kept fighting and didn't let misses get to him. Edberg and Wilander were both fifth set experts, not by total winning percentage as their games were not as secure (many five-setters against other top players too unlike Nishikori) but by being always there and if their game stood they would usually win, hence quite a lot five-set wins in slam title runs.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
Mythical resilience for sure, physical and mental alike.
Came from a break down in the deciding set in three consecutive matches including the longest USO match ever - this one, the semifinal - then beat Sampras the following day (USO semis were played on Saturday as you likely remember, until early 00s), crucially breaking when Pete served for a 2-1 set lead (or else it would've had to be a fourth consecutive five-setter for Edberg to win!). Ended up playing on four consecutive days up to the final yet still toughed it out. Newspapers called him the marathon man after that.

Tuesday: beat Richard Krajicek 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 4 hours 20 minutes; Krajicek was up a break at *3-2 fifth set (earlier, Edberg was up *6-4 in the tiebreak and netted a makeable volley)

Thursday/Friday: beat Ivan Lendl 6-3 6-3 3-6 5-7 7-6(3) in 4 hours 3 minutes; Lendl was up a break and game point at *4-3 AD-40 fifth set (earlier, Lendl saved triple MP on serve at *4-5 0-40 4th set and broke to move ahead, then it rained and the rest of the match was played out on Friday)

Saturday: beat Michael Chang 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(3) 5-7 6-4 in 5 hours 26 minutes; Chang was up 3-0* 40-15 fifth set (an excruciating match full of breaks and rebreaks, comebacks and chokes, you could write a story about it; every set featured a multi-SP/BP-saving comeback from either player only to still lose it until Edberg completed the final comeback in the fifth)

Sunday: beat Pete Sampras 3-6 6-4 7-6(5) 6-2 in 2 hours 55 minutes; Sampras served for a two-sets-to-one lead at *6-5 third set, got a bit tight and Edberg took it to him. Pete wilted in the fourth set later complaining of stomach cramps; apparently they bothered him in the fourth set of his semifinal as well but he was already up and persevered by hitting through listless Courier who couldn't make him run, Edberg though was different.

All in all, Edberg spent 22 hours and 22 minutes on court playing matches, which is only 4 minutes behind Nadal's losing effort at AO 12 but a considerably bigger portion of his match time compared to Edberg was not spent playing tennis, since Nadal is relatively slow in his preparation (with Djokovic being the same way, the final had over an hour of extra time than if both were as fast as Federer). An absolutely ridiculous display of the will to win, no over-the-top flamboyancy required. Edberg was often up and down as the risky finesse nature of his game made it less secure than those of still greater players, but he kept fighting and didn't let misses get to him. Edberg and Wilander were both fifth set experts, not by total winning percentage as their games were not as secure (many five-setters against other top players too unlike Nishikori) but by being always there and if their game stood they would usually win, hence quite a lot five-set wins in slam title runs.
It's pretty surreal to see this kind of thing ever happening. I mean, these guys that he beat were all very capable players who at least played well if not at their absolute best and the fact that he gutted them out in three straight five setters as well as a four-setter that almost went five as you noted. Not only that but he narrowly avoided defeat in those fifth sets too, coming back from breaks down. Doubt we'll see a tougher draw in a long time given just how much deeper that tournament's field was than those in recent years.... and, well, any year I suppose.
 

AnOctorokForDinner

Talk Tennis Guru
It's pretty surreal to see this kind of thing ever happening. I mean, these guys that he beat were all very capable players who at least played well if not at their absolute best and the fact that he gutted them out in three straight five setters as well as a four-setter that almost went five as you noted. Not only that but he narrowly avoided defeat in those fifth sets too, coming back from breaks down. Doubt we'll see a tougher draw in a long time given just how much deeper that tournament's field was than those in recent years.... and, well, any year I suppose.

The field is barren for sure. Last time we had a player deal with a tough QF-SF-F lineup was Thiem at AO '20 and that was still a pale shadow by the level shown. Before, Nadal had it at USO '18 (peak Thiem - Delpo - Djoke) but got hurt, and he'd have had a tough triple combo in 2018 if Fred were in form but he wasn't and faltered. Basically once del Potro got injured for good (along with others like Nishikori and Raonic + Cilic degrading into a lesser mug), the midfield crashed. And that still doesn't come close to Edberg having to face and beat *four* players each of whom could upset #1 and no one who knows their tennis would be much surprised. Draws haven't been that deep in a long time.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
The field is barren for sure. Last time we had a player deal with a tough QF-SF-F lineup was Thiem at AO '20 and that was still a pale shadow by the level shown. Before, Nadal had it at USO '18 (peak Thiem - Delpo - Djoke) but got hurt, and he'd have had a tough triple combo in 2018 if Fred were in form but he wasn't and faltered. Basically once del Potro got injured for good (along with others like Nishikori and Raonic + Cilic degrading into a lesser mug), the midfield crashed. And that still doesn't come close to Edberg having to face and beat *four* players each of whom could upset #1 and no one who knows their tennis would be much surprised. Draws haven't been that deep in a long time.
Thiem AO 2020 is a good shout. Feel like that was one of the very few strong (or at least close to strong) runs at a Slam in the last few years. Pretty good if not great Nadal, a solid Zverev (slim pickings for Z, I’m aware), and Djokovic. Nothing super special but I liked the quality of tennis. Beyond that, nothing really.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
This match was the final one in Edberg's 1992 USO "Down A Break In the Fifth Set" trilogy - Krajicek, Lendl, and Chang in the fourth round, QFs, and SFs, respectively. Then topped off the tournament with a four-set win over Sampras, after losing the first set, in the final. Talk about earning it.

This tourney was full of dramatic matches. Sampras himself had five-setters in the third and fourth rounds. Lendl beat Becker in 5 in the fourth round. Chang beat Washington in 5 in the fourth round.
 

BringBackWood

Professional
@Waspsting Great report. I haven't seen this one, but your report paints a kinder picture of Edberg's level in this match than I have heard, giving more credit to Chang's passes. I think it would be very interesting to compare this with the 1991 US open match between the two. Did Chang's returns/passes improve, or was it more of a case of Edberg being 'on it'? I certainly suspect the latter. It's probably the best I saw Stefan play. I saw someone in the Ederg -Lendl thread mention how it is very difficult for viewers to spot how well or otherwise Edberg is serving because the differences are subtle match to match. This is a theory I am inclining to as well. I've seen matches where the opponent looks helpless to return it by other means than a harmless chip which gets swatted away. Other times the same player can get a bead on it and make the serve look vulnerable. You cannot really discern much difference in the serve. The 1991 match is now on YT
 

beltsman

G.O.A.T.
Wow what a match. I need to find time to watch it all. Service stats are surprisingly poor for Edberg, compared to what I expected.
 
D

Deleted member 779124

Guest
The field is barren for sure. Last time we had a player deal with a tough QF-SF-F lineup was Thiem at AO '20 and that was still a pale shadow by the level shown. Before, Nadal had it at USO '18 (peak Thiem - Delpo - Djoke) but got hurt, and he'd have had a tough triple combo in 2018 if Fred were in form but he wasn't and faltered. Basically once del Potro got injured for good (along with others like Nishikori and Raonic + Cilic degrading into a lesser mug), the midfield crashed. And that still doesn't come close to Edberg having to face and beat *four* players each of whom could upset #1 and no one who knows their tennis would be much surprised. Draws haven't been that deep in a long time.
I know this a different context but Roddick in 2009 had Hewitt/Murray/Fed in QF-F.
 
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