Match Stats/Report - Leconte vs Sampras, Paris second round, 1992


Hall of Fame
Henri Leconte beat Pete Sampras 6-3, 7-5 in the Paris second round (round of 32), 1992 on carpet

Leconte was playing as a wild card and would go onto reach the quarter-final before which he withdrew. Sampras was the second seed and had a bye in the first round. The result saw Leconte move ahead 2-1 in the pair's head to head, his previous win having come in the Davis Cup final the previous year

Leconte won 78 points, Sampras 60

Both players serve-volleyed off majority first serves

(Note: I'm missing 1 Leconte service point, won by Leconte... its likely a second serve point where a return was made, but has not been marked in anyway

Missing point - Set 2, Game 12, Point 10)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (31/69) 45%
- 1st serve points won (26/31) 84%
- 2nd serve points won (24/38) 63%
- Unknown serve point (1/1)
- Aces 8
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/69) 32%

- 1st serve percentage (39/68) 57%
- 1st serve points won (29/39) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (12/29) 41%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (23/68) 34%

Serve Patterns
Leconte served...
- to FH 31%
- to BH 68%
- to Body 2%

Sampras served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Leconte made...
- 42 (11 FH, 31 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 3 return-approaches
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 14 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (42/65) 65%

Sampras made...
- 43 (12 FH, 31 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (4 FH, 4 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 6 Forced (6 BH)
- Return Rate (43/65) 66%

Break Points
Leconte 2/7 (4 games)
Sampras 0/3 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Leconte 16 (6 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
Sampras 17 (4 FH, 4 BH, 5 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

Leconte had 5 from serve-volley points
- 4 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH, 1 FH at net)
- 1 second volley (1 BHV)

- FHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 1 dtl pass and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 1 cc and 3 dtl passes (1 net-to-net)

Sampras had 8 from serve-volley points
- 5 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 FH at net)
- 3 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 OH)

- FHs - 2 inside-out (1 pass) and 1 inside-in pass
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc and 2 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Leconte 16
- 9 Unforced (2 FH, 7 BH)
- 7 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.4

Sampras 36
- 15 Unforced (7 FH, 5 BH, 3 BHV)
- 21 Forced (8 FH, 9 BH, 2 FHV, 2 FH1/2V)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

(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
Leconte was...
- 28/36 (78%) at net, including...
- 16/19 (84%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 13/14 (93%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/5 (60%) off 2nd serve
- 3/3 (100%) return-approaching

Sampras was...
- 25/38 (66%) at net, including...
- 21/30 (70%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Leconte plays a fine match while Sampras falters on the return and to a lesser extent, the pass on a quick-ish court

Basic serve-return complex stats are virtually identical for two players -
Unreturned serves - Leconte 22/69, Sampras 23/68
Serve pattern across FH/BH/Body - Leconte 20/44/1, Sampras 19/45/1
Returns made - Leconte 11 FH, 31 BH, Sampras 12 FH, 31 BH (both with 1 runaround FH, Leconte with 3 chip-charges to Sampras' 1)

But, in light of Leconte serving at 45% (to Sampras 57%) and serve-volleying off 61% first serves (to Sampras' 91%)... that's a huge win for Leconte

Note the return errors. Leconte has just 3 UEs. Sampras has 8

Both players have good second serves (as in, difficult to attack and rarely, damaging). Sampras always returns it from inside the court and he's just not good enough to pull it off. Keeps missing second serve returns taking it that early. For most part, he's not even going for an attacking return... just a neutral one, while taking it early. What's the up side to trying this even?

Its something he does in general (i.e. beyond this match). Takes second serve returns from inside court neutrally. The point of taking returns early is to rush the server but the way he plays them, even if he makes them they're not troubling. All he ends up doing is taking time away from himself to make the return. In this match, he misses regularly to boot... neither good returning, nor thinking from Pete here

Its not an overly fast court. Serve alone isn't necessarily decisive, returns can be made with reasonable confidence and neutral baseline play isn't a bad option. But, both players have huge first serves and neither can do much against it. In that light, its a match likely to be decided by second serve points

Leconte wins 63% of his, Sampras can only manage 41%. That's mostly due to Sampras failing to put returns in play, while Leconte is solid in this regard

Among the something extra Leconte brings to returning is picking his attacking ones. Sampras mixes up his serves, and some second serves are bona fide damaging, most are at least not easy to attack and a minority are just point starters. Leconte's got his eyes wide open and picks these to chip-charge or otherwise attack. Not that that decides the match - he does use it successfully on break point in first set, but Sampras also double faults twice and misses a couple of easy balls in that game - but good, smart returning from Leconte

The other standout feature of match is the passing. Just 5 groundstroke FEs for Leconte, while he hitting 4 baseline-to-net passing winners. That's against solid volleying from Pete, who has just 3 volleying UEs and otherwise volleys well away from Leconte. Couple of spectacular running pass winners from Leconte in there and he otherwise forces Pete to finish the point

On flip side, two things happen -

i) Leconte doesn't miss a volley. 0 UEs and 2 FEs is all he misses - the FEs are virtually impossible balls. Can't do much better than that and success at net is helped by ...
ii) Sampras can't put pass in play... 17 groundstroke FEs (vast majority, though not all, are passing attempts)

Gist of Leconte serve-volleying -
a) strong serve, that Sampras returns normally down middle of court, leaving regulation volleys
b) consistent volleying by Leconte... he doesn't miss and places volleys a bit away from Pete, leaving reasonable passing shots
c) Pete nets the pass, almost everytime. One would expect Leconte to win most points from these positions (anything else would require zoning passing from Pete), but just as percentage play, one would also expect Pete to make more passes

Leconte winning 13/14 first serve-volley points. He's only 5/9 not serve-volleying
Coming in from rallying, Leconte is 9/14. Good, wide placed approaches, particularly BH cc and Sampras still below par on the pass. Sampras by contrast rallies to net just 7 times (with a couple of forced approaches in there), winning just 3. He doesn't seem to be looking for net

The crowd are terrible. They're calling out and whistling and hollering and what not in between points, including as players are about to serve constantly. Both players face it while about to serve, Sampras more, especially right as he's about to deliver the ball

Match Progression
Easy holds for 5 games before 3 long ones in succession, 2 on Sampras' serve

Pete manages to hold off 2 break points in game 6, resisting strong passes and returns from Leconte. Next game is 10 points without break point, with 3 Leconte aces and Sampras missing a pair of second serve returns

Poor game from Pete to get broken after that (2 double faults, missed regulation BHV and BH) but Leconte forces the end with a wide, FH1/2V error forcing return and return-approach to get the break

Second set is more even, with both players staying back more. Sampras has break and set point in game 10, one of the few return games he plays with proactive aggression but Leconte holds

The break comes next game. It begins with a double fault and ends with an easy BHV miss. In between, 2 wonderful points from Leconte - a running BH dtl passing winner and a net-to-net point he deftly orchestrates that ends with a Pete FHV FE

Difficult serve out for Leconte. He makes just 3 first serves in 12 point game. Pete dashing to net to hit a FHV winner brings up break point and brings home how rarely he looked to come forward all match. Leconte though remains steady and puts the match to bed after that

Summing up, good match from Leconte with sure volleying and returning, some nice shot making from the back and timely great passes. Sampras struggles to return and tries to do so in dubious fashion and is found wanting on the pass