Match Stats/Report - Kuerten vs Agassi, Year End Championship final, 2000

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Gustavo Kuerten beat Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the Year End Championship final, 2000 on indoor hard court in Lisbon, Portugal

The win gave Kuerten, the French Open champion, the year end world number ranking ahead of Marat Safin, who Agassi had beaten in the semi-final to deny that position. Agassi had won the Australian Open earlier in the year and beaten Kuerten in the round robin stage of this event

Kuerten won 100 points, Agassi 86

Serve Stats
Kuerten...
- 1st serve percentage (57/98) 58%
- 1st serve points won (46/57) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (22/41) 54%
- Aces 19 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (36/98) 37%

Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (61/88) 69%
- 1st serve points won (41/61) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (15/27) 56%
- Aces 7
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/88) 31%

Serve Patterns
Kuerten served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 2%

Agassi served....
- to FH 51%
- to BH 48%
- to Body 1%

Return Stats
Kuerten made...
- 60 (30 FH, 30 BH), including 4 runaround FHs and 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- 13 Forced (11 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (60/87) 69%

Agassi made...
- 61 (24 FH, 37 BH), including 8 runaround FHs & 2 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 11 Forced (4 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (61/97) 63%

Break Points
Kuerten 3/9 (6 games)
Agassi 0/7 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Kuerten 31 (9 FH, 12 BH, 6 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
Agassi 8 (4 FH, 1 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)

Kuerten's FHs - 6 cc (2 passes, 1 return), 1 dtl and 2 inside-out
- BHs - 2 cc, 8 dtl (1 hit from just past the service line), 1 inside-out and 1 drop shot

- 2 FHVs were first volleys of serve-volley points and 1 BHV was a drop

Agassi's FHs - 1 cc, 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in (1 return)
- BH - a drop shot

- 1 BHV came off a return-approach point and the other was played net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Kuerten 49
- 34 Unforced (11 FH, 20 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 15 Forced (11 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.8

Agassi 33
- 21 Unforced (9 FH, 12 BH)
- 12 Forced (3 FH, 8 BH, 1 OH)…. the OH was a baseline attempt to fend off a Kuerten smash
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.2

(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
Kuerten was...
- 12/18 (67%) at net, including...
- 2/2 serve-volleying, both first serves
--
- 0/1 return-approaching

Agassi was...
- 5/6 (83%) at net, with...
- 1/2 return-approaching

Match Report
Kuerten blasts Agassi off the court in an exhibition of big serving, swinging from the hips groundstroking... with just a bit of sneak net approaching thrown in

Its a slow court and you won't see many, if any where a guy hits 31 clean winners (mostly from the baseline), along with 19 aces on a comparable surface. Its the way Agassi's decent serve and powerful groundstrokes come off the ground that indicates the court speed (as well as the very full swings Kuerten takes without being rushed)

According to commentators, Kuerten is carrying a slight groin injury

Kuerten breaks to 15 in the opening game, announcing his intentions early with winners from a FH cc and BH dtl from outside the court. He has to save four break points a few games later. The first 3 he wipes away with big serves to get out a 0-40 hole but needs a bit of luck with the last as his shot pops over off a net chord and Agassi can't chase it down to put back in play. The rest of the set continues mostly without incident of play. Play is delayed in the middle of a Kuerten service game when his shoe is cut slightly open and a new pair is sent for

Kuerten has the better of the second set too, breaking to love in the fifth game with another powerful FH cc and a nice, drop BHV after sneaking upto net. Agassi has to save 3 more break points in his next game, the first of which is brought up by a lucky net chord pop over pass from Guga. Later, as he serves for the set, he goes down 30-40... only to bang down 3 unreturned serves in succession (2 of them aces)

After holding first game of 3rd set, Agassi pushes Guga in a 12 point game. His sole break chance - brought up on the back of a pair of Kuerten attacking errors - is aced away. Kuerten breaks mid way through the set in a game that he opens with a BH dtl winner followed by a BH inside-out winner. He's been hammering BHs - both cc and dtl - all night, but inside-out is novel. Agassi double faults on break point - and continues to serve strongly to keep a tight grip on the match

Serve & Return
I doubt even Pete Sampras could serve better than Guga does here. In last years final, Sampras served 14 aces in 15 games at 0.93 per game. Kuerten, on a significantly slower surface, serves 19 in 15 or 1.27 here. There are only 3 games in which he doesn't serve at least 1 ace

Agassi, for once, plays around with his return position. Standing extra close is a common enough switch for him, but stepping back is not. I've often thought its something he should consider (especially against Sampras) in passages of play when he can barely get a return in play (and whatever he does is getting volleyed away, in case of against Sampras)… the odd winning return isn't worth the boatload of unreturned serves

Here though, not only can't he get returns in play, but he can't even do damage with the return. Don't think he returns badly... courts too slow for him to generate enough power to trouble the on-the-baseline Guga

For all that, he doesn't utilize retreating on return enough. He does so for about 2-3 return games and gets the ball in play a bit more on those. Rest of the time, he's standing in close or in his preferred step behind the baseline. At no point in the match can he muster much on return. You could say Agassi's tinkers with his return position, trying out different things without any plan, just seeing what comes up and maybe disrupting Kuerten's rhythm. Not much comes up no matter what he tries and Kuerten's rhythm goes on like a Swiss clock

Kuerten's second serve is strong as well. Agassi tends to runaround to hit FHs to them, again without generating sufficient power to be troubling, but there are also serves too strong to think about running around to. And 1 ace, just for good measure

Agassi serves well enough, with 69% first serves in and shades the second serve points won (56% to Kuerten's 54%). His serve is about above average of both power and placement - conditions are of a type where serve wouldn't matter much unless its exceptionally big like Kuerten's - and not one likely to be too big a positive factor for Agassi. Still, 7 aces demonstrate the quality of his first delivery too

Kuerten returns from his customary, well back position. And rips into everything. Much the same way he plays from the baseline. Kuerten's return errors (7 unforced, 13 forced), include a number of highly aggressive shots. When he gets the ball back, he does so strongly enough to make taking charge of the point on the third ball awkward for Andre
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline
In addition to the minor injury, commentators seem to be confident that Kuerten had a fitness issue and attributed his aggressive shot making to wanting to keep points short. Guga does see the trainer at a changeover in the third set but I see no obvious fitness issue. After gruelling rallies, Agassi if tends to be more winded (and Agassi was the sort who tried to conceal things like that from his opponent)

Play is easy to describe. Guga takes huge cuts on almost everything. Note the 20 power groundstroke winners (the other was a drop shot). Agassi had 5 (plus a drop shot). Note the UEFI - Kuerten's 51.8 is humongous for a baseline player. 15/34 of his UEs are winner attempts (by contrast, 14/21 of Agassi's are neutral shots)

Guga misses more winner attempts (15), than Agassi goes for (12 - 8 winners and 4 attempts)

Its not just power from Guga… he hits the craziest of cc angles of both wings and even a couple of FH inside-outs. And even more BH dtls from outside the court. Lots of errors playing this way of course, but his results are well into the net positives. And of course, he has the cushion of winning a heavy load from unreturnable serves to launch from to begin with

The crosscourts take the eye for elegance, but the down the lines are the killer. 9 BH winners dtl… usually set up with BH cc's, even the regulation ones of which are quite sharply angled. And the sharply angled ones are ridiculous. And Kuerten doesn't hit many 'regulation' shots to begin with... almost everything is hit with attacking intent

It'd be an injustice to call Kuerten's shot making 'swinging for the fences' as that phrase implies an element of rashness and lack of control. For the most part, his is well executed and constant attacking shot making, both heavy (the power) and artistic (the placement). Anything less wouldn't cut it on this court. There are some wild errors too - missing the court by miles

Agassi is unable to impose himself from the back. He hits with decent power himself but that's not enough in the conditions and with Kuerten's positioning and ability to turn dynamic sideways with placement more than power. Agassi himself plays more aggressively as the match goes on, without changing Kuerten's agenda much

The game plan for Andre seems to have been to play bossy, consistent baseline tennis - and its a good one, especially for this court and one he was highly proficient at. Its thrown for a loop by Kuerten's angles. Agassi doesn't adjust particularly well... being more attacking plan B isn't nearly attacking as he would need to be

Other thinking of Agassi's might have been that Kuerten wouldn't be able to sustain his level of play - and that's not a bad thought. I remember watching this in real time thinking so. Only Kuerten does... all match. Serving as well as in play.... when in a spot of bother, he usually bangs down an ace or other strong serve and in play, he's making errors regularly throughout, but at no time does it get out of hand or get ahead of the points he's winning by forcing errors and hitting winners

Agassi winning 67% first serve points and 56% second serves - which look like match winning numbers in slow conditions - are an indicator that he played decently

Just too good from Guga, and Agassi's adjustments to it insufficient

Cherry on the cake for Guga is his net play. This is some of best 'sneaking-in' approaching I've seen. Couple of steps at a time amidst a normal rally (i.e. normal for the match)… and suddenly he's at net putting away easy volleys. Couple of serve-volleys too, both ending with first volley winners and he was trying to come in behind a couple of what turned out to be aces or service winners. And while missing 2 very easy ones, he looks a lot more comfortable than most not natural net players (like Agassi himself)

Summing up, superlative stuff from Kuerten - terrific serving and brilliant, sustained attacking baseline tennis with amazing angles and power supported by clever trips to the net. Not bad, if a bit unimaginative from Agassi. Full credit to Guga for the result
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Have yet to read the wrong thing but this is why many including yours truly believe Kuerten would've been a serious threat on HC without that calamitous string of injuries starting in '01. Though he was comparably older than Rafa, going by mileage Guga was at a similar point in his career as when Rafa began his GOAThood off clay, and with a serve and strokes like that Guga might have well stoken a HC major (a USO more likely than an AO) or two before the emergence of Fed, perhaps even after.
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
Agassi won the Australian Open that year, not the USO(as stated in OP

I also did stats on this a while back. Agassi had no winners in the first set outside of 3 aces. Only 1 winner in 2nd set(and 2aces)
Doubt that's happened much in his career, going 2 sets with only one winner off the ground.

I'm curious how their match in the RR went.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Agassi had no winners in the first set outside of 3 aces. Only 1 winner in 2nd set(and 2aces)
Doubt that's happened much in his career, going 2 sets with only one winner off the ground.
unlikely to happen often for anyone I'd think

Around about this period, might be close to happening for Agassi more than we'd think. I have him with 3 winners in play after 2 sets of Aus final soon after vs Clement on a similar court. And those are sets he won comfortably, with Clement not moving particularly well

Agassi won the Australian Open that year, not the USO(as stated in OP
Thanks for the catch. what would I do without you?
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
@Waspsting

Here is kuerten's press conference after his RR match with Agassi(his first match)

Most of the talk is about his injury. Kuerten says he'll probably withdraw from the tournament if he doesn't improve by the day of his next match. It was a pretty gutsy effort to win this event.
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
Agassi won the Australian Open that year, not the USO(as stated in OP

I also did stats on this a while back. Agassi had no winners in the first set outside of 3 aces. Only 1 winner in 2nd set(and 2aces)
Doubt that's happened much in his career, going 2 sets with only one winner off the ground.

I'm curious how their match in the RR went.
The win gave Kuerten, the French Open champion, the year end world number ranking ahead of Marat Safin, who Agassi had beaten in the semi-final to deny that position. Agassi had won the Australian Open earlier in the year and beaten Kuerten in the round robin stage of this event

Our ace reporter correctly stated that Agassi won the AO, not the USO.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
doubt even Pete Sampras could serve better than Guga does here. In last years final, Sampras served 14 aces in 15 games at 0.93 per game. Kuerten, on a significantly slower surface, serves 19 in 15 or 1.27 here. There are only 3 games in which he doesn't serve at least 1 ace
Kuerten in general had a very good serve. Didn’t he serve 47 aces once in a Davis Cup match? This is 10 more than Sampras best of 37 against Agassi in AO 2000. I know this is only one match but still.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Kuerten in general had a very good serve. Didn’t he serve 47 aces once in a Davis Cup match? This is 10 more than Sampras best of 37 against Agassi in AO 2000. I know this is only one match but still.
Yes, against Nestor in Davis Cup in 2003. And he somehow still lost the match: 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-5.
 

rafa_prestige89

Professional
Agassi won the Australian Open that year, not the USO(as stated in OP

I also did stats on this a while back. Agassi had no winners in the first set outside of 3 aces. Only 1 winner in 2nd set(and 2aces)
Doubt that's happened much in his career, going 2 sets with only one winner off the ground.

I'm curious how their match in the RR went.
Kuerten was dominating Agassi until he felt his injury, otherwise it would probably be a 2 set match victory for Kuerten.
 

KG1965

Legend
Kuerten, in addition to winning the ATP Finals, winning this match became number one at the end of 2000.
Overtaking Safin in the last match.
 
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