Match Stats/Report - Edberg vs Sampras, Australian Open semi-final, 1993

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Stefan Edberg beat Pete Sampras 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-6(3) in the Australian Open semi-final, 1993 on hard court

Edberg would go onto lose the final to Jim Courier in his last Slam final, while Sampras would finish the year number 1 for the first time, winning Wimbledon and the US Open along the way

Edberg won 123 points, Sampras 105

Both players serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve and the majority of seconds


Serve Stats
Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (66/116) 57%
- 1st serve points won (48/66) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (29/50) 58%
- Aces 5
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (35/116) 30%

Sampras....
- 1st serve percentage (50/112) 45%
- 1st serve points won (34/50) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (32/62) 52%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (34/112) 30%


Serve Patterns
Edberg served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 12%

Sampras served....
- to FH 38%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 8%

Return Stats
Edberg made...
- 72 (28 FH, 44 BH), including 6 return-approaches
- 5 Winners (3 FH, 2 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 17 Forced (5 FH, 12 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- Return Rate (72/106) 68%

Sampras made...
- 79 (28 FH, 51 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 11 Winners (6 FH, 5 BH)
- 30 Errors, all forced...
- 30 Forced (9 FH, 21 BH)
- Return Rate (79/114) 69%

Break Points
Edberg 4/12 (6 games)
Sampras 3/5 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Edberg 36 (10 FH, 5 BH, 10 FHV, 6 BHV, 5 OH)
Sampras 33 (13 FH, 9 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV, 4 OH)

Edberg had 18 from serve-volley points
- 11 first volleys (5 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)
- 7 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV, 4 OH)

- 5 returns, all passes (3 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 1 dtl and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 inside-in

- non-return passes
- FHs - 2 cc, 4 dtl and 1 net-to-net
- BHs - 1 dtl and 2 net-to-net

Sampras had 13 from serve-volley points
- 8 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 4 BHV, 3 FH at net), 1 FH at net also being a pass
- 4 second volleys (1 BHV, 3 OH)
- 1 third volley FHV, played net-to-net

- 11 returns, all passes (6 FH, 5 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl, and 3 inside-in
- BHs - 1 dtl, 2 inside-out and 2 inside-in

- non-return passes
- FHs - 1 cc and 3 dtl
- BHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Edberg 36
- 15 Unforced (3 FH, 3 BH, 4 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
- 19 Forced (6 FH, 8 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.3

Sampras 46
- 22 Unforced (9 FH, 5 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 24 Forced (9 FH, 9 BH, 4 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.7

(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...
- 73/111 (66%) at net, including...
- 62/92 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 42/60 (70%) off 1st serve and...
- 20/32 (63%) off 2nd serve
--
- 3/6 (50%) return-approaching
- 3/5 (60%) forced back/retreated

Sampras was...
- 47/84 (56%) at net, including...
- 44/75 (59%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 20/35 (57%) off 1st serve and...
- 24/40 (60%) off 2nd serve
--
- 1/3 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Great, fun to watch match on a slow-ish medium paced hard court. Edberg's volleying was the standout feature

Some background. Both players had injury and fitness issues. Edberg had troubles with his back (I recall he had general trouble with his back round about this time) which had been made worse in an earlier round when he apparently had to hit a lot of OHs. Its noticeable - he's serving gentler than usual and his tentative on OHs, lacking his usual, silky movement. He also looks broader in the body than usual. Sampras has a problem with his shins, apparently a long term thing. Mid-way through the third set, he has it looked at and his movements are slower in the second half of the match. He grimaces with pain when taking particularly quick steps in the forecourt

Its also drainingly hot and sunny, and seemingly windless. Apparently, it had been like this whole tournament to the extent that racquets were losing string tension. Tomas Muster apparently put his racquets in the fridge during play and in this match, the players send racquets away to be restrung (it sounds like they didn't carry a set of extras with them) during play. Sampras plays in an oversized cap for most of the match that he has to fiddle with to keep firmly on his head
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Serve/Return & Volleying/Passing
At the start, Edberg's weak of power serve is getting hammered by Sampras. Commentators note that Sampras' bigger second serves are faster than Edberg's firsts - and so are some of Monica Seles' and Steffi Graf's. Edberg is said to have served just 7 aces in the 5 previous matches in the tournament. Of placement, he serves as he usually does, safely in the box away from the lines

This isn't going to cut it against Sampras. Pete returns excellently, hitting cleanly with short swings and missing little. He takes a 4-0 lead on the back of belting returns. As the match wears on, Edberg is forced to serve bigger to stop this. He does (ends up with 5 aces - a huge yield for one who'd served 7 in 5 matches coming in), but Sampras returns aggressively and well all match

Its left for Edberg's volleying to save the day. The Swede volleys superbly. 21 winners, 7 UEs (2 OHs were hit from baseline), 7 FEs are good enough numbers in the forecourt.... but can't capture the quality of the volleys he did make. With Sampras thundering returns, Edberg faces a fusillade of difficult first volleys - powerful and/or low - and he makes most of them at least safely. Typically, he doesn't go for to much on medium height volleys - just places it in a corner to set up an easier second volley or force a passing error... few if any players would have been able to defend the net so well against the onslaught he was under. It has to be said that Sampras' passing sans returning is average though

On the flip side, Sampras typically serves big. This is tempered with a poor percentage - 45% first serves in. It doesn't seem to matter too much because he's serve-volleying effectively of his second serve - which is not surprising given his second serve is as forceful as many a players first serve (including Edberg). Sampras actually does better serve-volleying off 2nd serves than he does off 1st (60% to 57%)

The problem he faces is with double faults. The 6 he makes come at bad times. From 4-0 in the first set, he's broken back and makes 2 doubles in each of the two service games he loses. He double faults down break point as he's serving for the third set also - so that's 5/6 double faults at very bad times. Can't help but say some choking here from Pete

Another odd situation Sampras faces is his serve is too powerful for efficient serve-volleying. Though not as damaging as Pete's, Edberg's return is also first rate. He gets a lot of balls back (return rates are virtually equal - 68% for Edberg, 69% for Sampras). Not many floaters among Edberg's returns - and given Sampras' pace, the returns reach him when he's not in a position to hit attacking volleys. He volleys well enough, but has to make occasional 1/2 volleys or awkward groundstrokes at net. And he can't get the kind of penetration on the volley as Edberg, often volleying short

This might have been effective... only Edberg looks to advance on return points throughout the match. He chip-charges returns even as Sampras is coming in, and otherwise, looks to inch forward with each shot or sneak in.... it puts Sampras in a non-standard situation at net, and to some extent, he flounders. Unlike Edberg, Sampras isn't a fish-in-water net player

A word on Edberg's OH. The commentators mention more than once that he doesn't have the best of OHs. Funnily, this is in keeping with my memory of the time... and completely at odds with old matches I've watched recently. Maybe the quality of the shot deteriorated round about this early/mid 90s period when his back trouble started. Sampras tests him with good defensive lobs... on back to back points, Edberg is forced back and misses OHs from the baseline. Couple of points later, he makes one from the same position and retakes the net to hit a FHV next shot

A word on baseline play. There isn't much of it going on - and both players are bad. One or the other make routine UEs in short rallies most of the time. Towards the end, when Sampras is clearly tired, he goes for (and invariably misses) low percentage winner attempts from standard positions (aka as swinging wildly)

Sampras' lack of mental toughness is on show. He's fine when winning, but tends to get droopy and downcaste when not. By the end, he also looks physically drained and just in hurry to get things done with. Edberg for his part, seems particularly motivated. He uncharacteristically shows his frustration a couple of times - smacking the ball into the net after missing a not easy volley and letting out an anguished roar after missing an easy one. Haven't seen Edberg so expressive

All in all, I'd say Sampras served better (a given), Edberg returned better (both returned well, but given the disparity of the serves, Edberg's was more impressive though less damaging nominally), Edberg volleyed better (Sampras also volleyed well, but Edberg was first class, especially on the low ones), passing about equal (normal level) and baseline play about equal (poor level - but not a big factor).

And Sampras choked - blowing a double break lead in the first set (4 double faults in the 2 games he's broken), failing to serve out the third set (missed OH and a double fault), missing a put away volley down set point in the tiebreak

Summing up, a high quality big game match with lots of moving parts. Edberg's very good volleying is the standout feature... both players returning also high quality and some shakey nerves from Sampras to seal the result
 
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BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
11 return winner from Sampras is actually good considering it was a straight set loss. Also got 11 against Krajicek at Wimbledon 96 and good numbers in most matches against Agassi. Sampras return gets underrated sometimes.
 
MUG choke by PETE. Not a great match considering, volleys were great though. The last of the typical early Sampras chokes before he ballsed up and formed the mental beast we know. First match I've ever charted, good memories.
 
Yes, Sampras's shin splints were a big problem early in his career, it took a while for him to shake them(he missed a lot of '91 due to them and had flareups periodically after that. I remember them being a big issue here)
 

California

Semi-Pro
Thanks for the write up. Was a good match to watch. These two usually played good, competitive matches against each other. Came down to who would execute at the key moments...
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
(Sampras) got 11 (return of serve winners) against Krajicek at Wimbledon 96... Sampras return gets underrated sometimes.
he hit 8 in a single game in that match, which might be some kind of record

Federer, Nadal and even Djokovic have likely won Wimbledon's without hitting that many in 7 matches

Sampras' returning is just so hot and cold. He'll strike a couple glorious ones and then miss 3 by a mile, miss simple ones, make no effort to make a few etc.

Bit like his groundgame.... as long as he held serve consistently (which he usually could), it probably made him more rather than less dangerous
 
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