Match Stats/Report - Lendl vs Agassi, Forest Hills semi-final, 1989


Hall of Fame
Ivan Lendl beat Andre Agassi 6-2, 6-3 in the Forest Hills semi-final, 1989 on green clay

Lendl, the world number 1, would go onto win the event, beating Jaime Yzaga in the final. He would lose a total of 19 games in 5 matches (10 sets) in winning the tournament. Agassi was 19 years old and ranked 5th in the world

Lendl won 60 points, Agassi 40

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (25/46) 54%
- 1st serve points won (19/25) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (14/21) 67%
- Aces 9, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/46) 35%

- 1st serve percentage (33/54) 61%
- 1st serve points won (20/33) 61%
- 2nd serve points won (7/21) 33%
- Aces 1 (a Lendl whiff)
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (7/54) 13%

Serve Patterns
Lendl served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 62%
- to Body 4%

Agassi served...
- to FH 18%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 14%

Return Stats
Lendl made...
- 44 (18 FH, 26 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (5 BH)
- 1 Forced (1 FH)
- Return Rate (44/51) 86%

Agassi made...
- 29 (12 FH, 17 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 4 Forced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (29/45) 64%

Break Points
Lendl 5/9 (6 games)
Agassi 1/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Lendl 13 (7 FH, 4 BH, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
Agassi 11 (6 FH, 5 BH)

Lendl's FHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc pass (that Agassi misjudged and left), 1 dtl pass, 1 longline/inside-out and 1 drop shot

- the BHV was hit net-to-net

Agassi's FHs - 5 inside-out (2 returns - 1 a runaround) and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc, 3 dtl and 1 net chord dribbler

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Lendl 21
- 15 Unforced (9 FH, 6 BH)
- 6 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH)… with 1 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 42.7

Agassi 28
- 23 Unforced (7 FH, 13 BH, 3 BHV)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.7

(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
Lendl was...
- 4/5 (80%) at net

Agassi was...
- 3/10 (30%) at net

Match Report
Lendl has 2 things that Agassi doesn't: A huge serve and an understanding of the conditions. Lendl's comfortably superior - in the first set, thanks to his serve and in the second, his playing sense. The green clay plays like a medium paced hard court... certainly closer to a slow hard court than red clay

Serve & Return
Tremendous serving from Lendl. He blasts his first serves down with great power. Note the 9 aces and 1 service winner... most of Agassi's 4 forced errors are strongly forced. In fact, Agassi does well to return some other very tough serves

Even the second is a handful. A runaround FH inside-out return winner from Agassi stands out because it was played of a particularly strong second serve, not easy to return regularly. He also tends to find good serves when he needs them. Facing break point, he sends down 3 aces in a row early in the match. With Agassi fighting back from 40-0 down with Lendl serving for the first set, Lendl again delivers strong serves

Agassi's serve by contrast is not strong. At least below average, and wouldn't be inaccurate to call is weak even. No problems on the return for Lendl. He doesn't attack the serve though... often returning from well behind baseline and looping BHs back in play. Even runaround FHs are at best, firm

Agassi regularly serves from close to doubles alley from the ad court, invariably going wide. Again, no trouble for Lendl, who even runsaround to return with FH to such balls

Agassi returns from on the baseline or slightly inside, as was his wont. With Lendl painting lines, it isn't effective and he struggles to return. Note low 64% return rate... well as Lendl served, this is too much. The number of meaty returns he can make due to the positioning isn't worth it... and Lendl's mostly up to dealing with strong returns in any case

Play - Baseline & Net
Terrific hitting from the back from both players, especially in first set. In particular, Lendl's FH does all kinds of damage

This hasn't come out too well in the stats. On the FH, Lendl has 7 winners, 9 UEs while Agassi has 6 and 7 respectively. This is a bit deceptive; 2 of Agassi's winners are returns and a number of Lendl UEs are at unimportant points

The BH battles more interesting still. It seems to be Agassi who initiates them and the two trade powerful blows cc. Early in the match, its power vs power... and contest is about even

In second set, Lendl pulls back - taking a deeper position behind the baseline, slicing more and looping BHs over. Agassi take to attacking that side with back-away FH inside-outs as well as BH cc's, while also running Lendl side to side a bit

Doesn't do Agassi much good. Lendl, though he doesn't appear particularly fast of foot (Agassi by contrast, does), efficiently runs down whatever Agassi throws out and is able to keep BHs in play. In fact, that turns out to be the biggest difference in play

BH UEs - Lendl 6, Agassi 13. Agassi is more prone to missing the odd routine one and also makes errors going for too much on the shot or getting impatient. Note the large difference in UEFI - Lendl 42.7, Agassi 48.7

Playing dynamic stops short of Agassi attacking and Lendl defending though. Lendl still wallops the odd FH, turning action his way

Agassi takes to coming to net, when he finds himself losing more than he's winning from the back. Good idea, but he doesn't pick good moments to come in and volleys poorly. 3 UEs and just 3/10 net points won. The errors aren't completely easy... balls a little under the net or a bit wide without much power, but Agassi can't make them

Match Progression
Agassi starts the match wearing full length track suit bottoms, though he changes soon into shorts. Match starts with a bang - Lendl wallops a FH inside-in winner first point, Agassi finishes a tough rally with a BH cc winner the second, and the third is a Lendl drop shot winner. And Lendl breaks

Lendl holds serve largely on strength of his serve, with neutrally started baseline play being about equal. Lendl adds a second break in a error laced game with tough rallies. Serving for the set at 5-2, Lendl has 4-0, before the cavalier Agassi lets loose with 2 top class FH return winners and a drop shot near as good. Lendl serves his way through though

In second set, Lendl opens up a 4-1 lead with 2 breaks. He's more passive in this set and wins points by outlasting Agassi. With match looking good as over, Agassi starts playing to the crowd, light heartedly, in the way you see at exhibition matches while Lendl just gets on with business at hand

Agassi pulls a break back, when Lendl makes a couple FH errors, and deep return catches him out. Doesn't look too happy with Agassi's playing-to-the-crowd-antics (not that he looked 'happy' prior to it either)

He breaks again to end the match, with Agassi making a bunch of errors

Summing up, masterful controlled showing from Lendl - the FH lethal, the BH up to handling anything thrown its way and the serve huge. Impatient and patchy showing from Agassi from the back... he seems to be trying to figure out how to play in the conditions, while Lendl seems to have it all mapped out

Stats from their '92 Canadian Open final -
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Hall of Fame
Agassi had made some comments the next year that he wasn't motivated to play the entire year in 1989.