Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Agassi, Indian Wells semi-final, 2004

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Andre Agassi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in in the Indian Wells semi-final, 2004 on hard court

Federer would go onto win the title, beating Tim Henman in the final. Agassi had won the event in 2001

Federer won 95 points, Agassi 83

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (50/85) 59%
- 1st serve points won (41/50) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (22/35) 63%
- Aces 11 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (34/85) 40%

Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (59/93) 63%
- 1st serve points won (45/59) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (16/34) 47%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/93) 29%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 36%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 5%

Agassi served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 73%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 62 (15 FH, 47 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 4 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 25 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (4 FH, 7 BH)
- 14 Forced (6 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (62/89) 70%

Agassi made...
- 46 (17 FH, 29 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (46/80) 58%

Break Points
Federer 2/6 (4 games)
Agassi 1/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 18 (13 FH, 2 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)
Agassi 12 (6 FH, 4 BH, 2 OH)

Federer's FHs - 3 cc (2 at net - 1 net-to-net), 3 dtl (1 return), 2 inside-out, 3 inside-in and 2 longline
- BH - 1 dtl

- 2 from serve-volleying points
- 1 first 'volley' (1 BH at net), which was a drop shot
- 1 second volley (1 FHV)

- 1 from a return-approach point, an OH

Agassi's FHs - 1 cc at net, 1 dtl pass, 2 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 1 cc and 3 dtl passes

- 2 OHs were on the bounce from no-man's land, both forced back/retreated net points

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 39
- 34 Unforced (16 FH, 17 BH, 1 BHV)
- 5 Forced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

Agassi 39
- 24 Unforced (15 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 OH)... with 1 non-net FHV
- 15 Forced (10 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.3

(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 for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Federer was...
- 11/16 (69%) at net, including...
- 3/3 (100%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 2/2 off 1st serve and...
- 1/1 off 2nd serve
---
- 1/4 (25%) return-approaching

Agassi was...
- 6/8 (75%) at net, with...
- 2/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
A somewhat strange match, scraggy of quality but effectively, as close as can be. You could say the difference between the two players is 1 point - there are a small number of such points that qualify for being the decisive one, most of them ending against run of play (again, strangely). Final result is most fitting. Federer is more secure on serve for more of the match than Agassi and his serve is the sole outstanding feature of ordinary action from both players

Break point stats read -
Federer 2/6 (4 games)
Agassi 1/6 (4 games)

Its also strangely a match of parts, with one player or the other holding serve easily while the other struggles to. Usually, the player who struggles ends up winning the set

Agassi takes first set with 1 break, a terrible game from Fed with 2 double faults and 2 FH UEs (1 of them on the move and not too easy). In remaining 4 return games, Agassi wins 1 point (a double fault). Not only can he hardly win a point, he can barely make a return. His return rate for the set is 6/19 or 31.6%. He himself holds fairly comfortably - he serves 27 points in set to Fed's 22 and doesn't face break point - but is down 0-15 three times, once going on to 15-30 from there. Not much - but anything looks substantial compared to how he's completely shut out returning other than the break

Second set sees roles reversed. Federer gains the early break - a poor game from Agassi (its a poor match with 2 players sharing 30 winners to 58 UEs) - and struggles to hold onto it for remainder of set, while Agassi cruises on serve from thereon. Fed serves 35 points in the set to Agassi's 18 and has save break points in a couple games. Agassi starts hitting slightly more attacking, wider FHs and his errors go up for it

On first Agassi break point, he misses one of the few regulation first serves Fed sends down all match. Strong play saves second one with Fed serving for the set, but set point is odd too. The two get into BH cc rally, which is the staple of play all match, with Agassi thoroughly dominating them. He's barely played a dtl shot all match (possibly 0 even), but chooses now to go for 1 now of all times, and misses. 1 set all

Third set begins with an epic sounding, 20 point Agassi hold where he saves 3 break points. Its the worst game of such length I've seen, filled with soft UEs to easy balls from both players. Including returns and double faults, 16/20 points end with UEs. The exceptions are 3 return errors and an OH on the bounce winner from no-man's land by Agassi

Fed goes on to command serve easily, winning first 3 service games to love (and as it would turn out, last game of the match too). Meanwhile, he starts pressuring Agassi regularly on return. All momentum Fed

Only the toughest challenge comes, completely against run of play, from Agassi as he has 2 break points in a 12 point game. Both turn out to be second serves, and Fed steps up to outplay and finish both points with winners. Game ends with Agassi missing 2 regulation returns and match stays on serve 4-4

Finally, Agassi seems to have an easy hold on his hands as powerful serving takes him to 40-15. Welcome relief for what's been a tough serving set. Only he gets broken from there. The key point is Agassi gently patting a putaway volley, enabling Fed to pinch the point. Fed brings up set point by winning his only point return-approaching - he'd been 0/3 on the play upto the point - and on break point, Agassi hits a regulation BH cc wide

And Fed serves it out to love to seal the match

Basic Stats & Serve and Return
Despite effectively 1 point difference in the match, Federer comfortably leads basic stats -

First serve points won - Fed 82%, Agassi 76%
more tellingly, second serve points won - Fed 63%, Agassi 47%

... the second serve points being too big to offset Agassi being +4 first serves in

Federer has 7 love holds to Agassi's 4. Again, strange for such a slow court. Temperature during match is closer to 110 degrees than 100, which tends to result in returners easing off on games. Despite the large number of quick holds, I don't see any undue play of this kind by returners... solid effort from both players throughout match. Neither are even sweating unduly or show any overt signs of feeling the heat. Late in match, as Agassi goes to change racquets between games, Fed does sit down on advertising boards in the shade next to the linespeople, but that's about it

Standout positive feature of match is Federer's excellent serving. He has 11 aces and a service winner to Agassi's 2, and a huge 40% unreturned rate, which would be a good figure for grass (Agassi's 29% - and he serves well within confines of his general standard of serve too)

Particularly potent is Fed's second serve. With Agassi typically standing inside court, ready to hammer them, Fed sends down wide and/or powerful serves that forces errors or at least, are difficult to hammer. 5 double faults, which is high for him, is the small price to pay for such serving. Even the regular second serves aren't easy to command, if not difficult to return

Against Agassi, its sometimes an advantage to not have the biggest of serves. Against those, there's little point to not guessing direction. Assuming he guesses right 50% of the time, that gives him a shot on 50% of the returns... and against very big server (e.g Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Philippoussis etc.), those are good prospects. This is within context of Agassi always looking to hit aggressive returns taking ball early, not fall back and just put-ball-in-play stuff where a returner might fancy getting more in but leaving server in charge of third ball.

Fed's serve is on boundary of being big, but not so much that it'd leave Agassi to guess rather than react as returner. And he apparently can't read direction.

Particularly good serving from Agassi too and Fed's BH return is prone to missing regulation returns. He has 7 BH UEs, which is more than Agassi's total. Some discredit to Fed on returning consistency... his BH is poor in all areas all match. He almost always swings at the ball, rarely chipping unless forced. Likely, he's wary of starting a rally with Agassi commanding the third ball
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline
Match is almost all baseline play and action is basic of nature and below average of quality

Fed with 18 winners, 34 UEs. Agassi has 12 and 24 respectively. Throwing in errors forced even, Fed 33 points won to 34 lost, Agassi 17 and 24

Points of interest include
- Agassi's BH cc'ng strategy and Fed's poor (and ill judged) BH'ng
Agassi's plan is simple; hit to Federer's BH. He plays firm BH cc's constantly. His shots are firm, occasionally powerful but rarely powerful to attacking extent. He's playing for UEs, not FEs or winners... and gets them. Fed with match high 17 BH UEs (Agassi has match low 7 - though 2 are at crucial points and ill judged too). His BH is just not good and gets broken down. Rallies are medium of length. Occasionally Fed goes for dtl point finisher (misses virtually always)

To a foolish extent, Fed keeps driving his BH. The ones he makes are just a bit less authoritive than Agassi's but not much. The BH cc rallies are at best, above average of quality - Agassi hitting firmly without great power, depth or width, Fed the same way and trailing in all these areas a bit. A typical Novak Djokovic breaking-down-BH showing with deep and powerful shots is higher of quality than what Agassi dishes out

Why doesn't Federer slice? Briefly, at start of third set, he throws in a few slices. Generally, Agassi handles slices extremely well, but what does Fed have to lose seeing how hopelessly short the end of the stick he's getting from it is? The brief spell does break Agassi's groove and a couple of errors spring from his racquet and he switches to going for a bit more on his BHs to his detriment. But Fed returns to driving, with similar results of being outmatched, though now he goes more dtl with the shot

Next to no attempt by Fed to move around to take FHs. It wouldn't be easy, but very difficult either against Agassi's hitting. When he does, he tends to go FH inside-in rather than inside-out

- On FH, Fed more powerful, Agassi moving him to side
FH UEs - Fed 16, Agassi 15 - don't look much better than Fed's BH. That's not accurate

From stationary position, Fed's shot is significantly harder or/and deeper hit and he's apt to take charge of the point. He has match high 13 winners, which is 1 more than Agassi's total and almost all of Agassi's 15 FEs with the shot

Good lot of Fed's FH UEs are on the move, balls that aren't difficult to put in play cc but certainly not easy to command. He tends to go dtl for the winner and misses them. A lot harder than the regulation BH UEs he gives up. Difference in two players movement - Fed is exceptionally swift, Agassi while not slow like he was in the pair's '03 YEC matches is just normal - is a factor in relative UE/FE amounts. Sizably amount of Agassi's match high 10 FH FEs are mild, on the move shots. Same types of balls to Fed have been marked UE because he's moved to it much better, well enough to make shot from stable position, while Agassi is on stretch with ball further along as he makes contact

So on FH, both players hitting more attackingly. Fed able to take charge or end points, Agassi hitting wide to try to stay in command. Agassi dictates baseline points enough that most of play is BH-BH. Plenty of room from improvement for Fed on the running FH. He whips stationary FHs in a way he's rarely able to while slightly on the move. Slightly wide hit FHs are extent of Agassi's attacking with FH
---
Summing up, a strange, slow court match. Fed serves outstandingly to not just keep Agassi from attacking second serves but attacking him with it. Bulk of baseline action is BH cc rallies implemented by Agassi, who's able to outlast a poor Federer on them. FH play favours Fed, who whips regulation balls aggressively to finish points while Agassi's attack is limited to hitting a bit wider to mildly move Fed around. Fed's movement is outstanding, Agassi's is decent too

Small handful of key points determine result and on them, both players tend to choose shots they eschew for almost entire match. Fed's more successful at these times and as more secure server, result falling his way is most appropriate outcome

Stats for final between Federer and Tim Henman - Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Henman, Indian Wells final, 2004 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for pair's '03 Year End Championship matches - Duel Match Stats/Reports - Federer vs Agassi, Year End Championship final & round robin, 2003 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
 
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BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
I actually watched this match live, here's a photo I took of Roger two days before the finals on the practice courts. In those days, you could simply sit courtside for many of the guys practicing with no security like nowadays. You could literally sit on the bench right next to where they placed their gear.

 
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