Match Stats/Report - Lendl vs McEnroe, Canadian Open final, 1989


Hall of Fame
Ivan Lendl beat John McEnroe 6-1, 6-3 in the Canadian Open final, 1989 on hard court in Montreal

It was Lendl's sixth title at the event, which remains a record. McEnroe would go onto finish the year ranked 4. This was the last final the two played

Lendl won 60 points, McEnroe 39

McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and occasionally off seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (28/55) 51%
- 1st serve points won (23/28) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (15/27) 56%
- Aces 7
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (15/55) 27%

- 1st serve percentage (30/44) 68%
- 1st serve points won (15/30) 50%
- 2nd serve points won (7/14) 50%
- Aces 1 (a second serve)
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (15/44) 34%

Serve Patterns
Lendl served...
- to FH 31%
- to BH 67%
- to Body 2%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 43%
- to Body 29%

Return Stats
Lendl made...
- 27 (13 FH, 14 BH)
- 9 Winners (1 FH, 8 BH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 13 Forced (5 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (27/42) 64%

McEnroe made...
- 39 (12 FH, 27 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 12 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 7 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (39/54) 72%

Break Points
Lendl 4/9 (4 games)
McEnroe 0/3 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Lendl 29 (12 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV, 2 OH)
McEnroe 12 (2 FH, 1 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 OH)

Lendl's FH passes - 2 cc, 3 dtl (1 return) and 1 lob
- regular FHs - 1 cc/inside-in, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs (all passes) - 6 cc (3 returns, 1 net chord clipper), 2 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out return, 3 inside-in returns and 1 longline/inside-out

- 1 FHV was a swinging shot
- 1 OH was on the bounce

McEnroe had 5 from serve-volley points
- 2 first volleys (1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 3 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV)

- 1 FHV from a return-approach point

- FHs - 2 dtl (1 return)
- BH - 1 dtl return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Lendl 11
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 8 Forced (2 FH, 6 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

McEnroe 14
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV)
- 10 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 Back-to-Net)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.5

(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...
- 8/8 (100%) at net

McEnroe was...
- 29/55 (53%) at net, including...
- 19/35 (54%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 15/30 (50%) off 1st serve and...
- 4/5 (80%) off 2nd serve
- 6/12 (50%) return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Frighteningly good from Ivan Lendl, especially in the first set. One of his best performances - one of anybody's best performances, I would imagine

In first set, McEnroe makes 15/21 first serves @ 71%. And gets mashed 6-1. Lendl has 17 winners (+2 aces), forces 4 errors (+2 return errors), while making 2 unforced errors (+ a double fault and 1 missed return)

11 of those winners are on return games. Mac wins a total of 15 points in the set!

(As impressive as that is, its not unprecedented for the match up. In fourth set of Antwerp '85 final, Lendl had 17 winners, 1 UE on top of 4 aces and 3 service winners)

McEnroe's serve games
Mac serve-volleys off all first serves and regularly off seconds. And Lendl mostly belts returns, while occasionally guiding them back with elegant precision. Makes a good number of errors (Note Mac's sizable 34% unreturned rate), but anything that comes back, comes back un-volleyable

Mac has 1 ace - and that was a second serve - while Lendl has 9 return of serve winners. Who's hunting who on the serve-return battle here?

The only Mac volley UE is a first FHV that reaches him about net high and on comfortable line, but firmly. He's only at the service line when he plays - and nets - the ball. On power alone, its not far from being marked 'forced error'. Later, he makes a first BHV winner to a comfortable placed ball, but hit very hard. It draws a large round of applause, and would have been marked forced error had he missed

Those are among the easiest volleys Mac has all match. the overwhelming bulk are hit wide, low and most of all, very hard. The one's that aren't hit very hard are placed particularly wide. Stupendous stuff from Lendl

Mac serves at very high 68% for the match, and his serve is fairly conservative of placement. Lots of body serves (29%, same as to the FH) and other body-ish serves. The body serves themselves aren't perfectly precise. Lendl moves a bit to make room to hit them, particularly off FH, but doesn't have to move enough to warrant a return being marked a runaround return. Mac does serve fairly hard though - within the limitations of his capacity for so doing

Something seems to have gone south with McEnroe's serve in this period. Against Jimmy Connors in Toulouse on fast carpet, he serves downright slow. In 3 matches against Boris Becker, his serve seems to be confidently read. And invariably, there's a big chunk of body or body-ish serves... that he doesn't have the power to be fully effective with

Contrast to mid-80s McEnroe serve, which took returners beyond the doubles alley when thrown out wide and which no one - including Lendl and Becker - seemed to be able to read

It was never the most powerful serve but disguise and placement made it possibly the best serve in the world in mid-80s. Neither of those qualities are on show in the matches I've looked at from 1989 period

Still a good serve, but worth noting. Usually, serve is the last thing to go for aging player unless particular injuries are at play, but I'm not aware of Mac having suffered back troubles

Good serve, just not compared to what it had been - and complete credit to Lendl for returning as well as he does

The staple of Lendl's returning and passing is power, but even then, they're mostly well placed. The power norm makes the odd guided or touch shot stand out all the more. There's a particularly good, softly chipped BH cc winner on a point Mac had run Lendl about on before coming in. And just for good measure, superb lobs. Couple of perfect winners, with the lobs clearing Mac decisively but landing about half-way between service line and baseline. On another point, Lendl chip-lobs Mac back to baseline twice from defensive positions

In a nutshell, Lendl returns and passes up a storm of power, placement and touch. The great Mac wins just 50% of his service points. When return is made, he can only win 7/29 points or 24%


Hall of Fame
Lendl's serve games
First serve seems to overwhelm Mac. Of his 8 return FEs, Mac is left to just fend off power first serves he can comfortably reach. a few don't even make it to the net... just beaten for sheer power. The serves are strong, but not that strong... not good returning here from Mac. He has similar troubles with Boris Becker's serve in this period

Highlight for Mac is his chip-charging second serves. Lendl's second serve is particularly strong, beyond being difficult to attack and into error forcing strong. Mac manages to take a bunch of them early and chip them away to the BH deep and usually wide, going flat-ish not loopily. That he can only win 50% of such points is down to Lendl's quality passing again

In older matches between the two, I sometimes felt Mac was in an unnecessary hurry to get to net and that he was sufficiently strong from the baseline that he could afford to wait for better chances to make an approach. That is not true here. Off the baseline, Lendl is clinical. Barely missing a ball (just 3 UEs), hitting heavy regulation groundies that aren't easy to attack and attacking in controlled fashion. Baseline rallies are characterized by Lendl being more consistent and more strong by hefty margins. Good job by Mac looking to come in as soon as can, as early as off the return if possible

Its worth noting that despite obviously being outmatched from the back and struggling to return, Mac is able to conjure reasonable counter-play on return. He has 3 break points over 2 games and takes Lendl to deuce in two other games. A good yield in just 8 return games. Invariably he's at his most successful when at net. Mac's chances of gaining a break seems to be a long-term percentage matter, i.e. come to net as often as possible, will get blasted there regularly, but a few points in a row doing so might get him what he needs

Match Progression
Lendl breaks to open the match. the return itself forces errors (1 at net, 1 on baseline) to gain first two points and he wraps up with a BH dtl passing winner to seal the break

Mac replies by stretching Lendl to 10 points in the next game. couple of net point ending with winners and a return winner gives him a point to break back, but he can't make the return to a strong second serve he tried to take early. Lendl makes it 3-0 by breaking with 4 winners and starts the game after that with 3 more, including a running FH cc pass and a BH cc pass from defensive position. Even as Mac wins his only game of the set with 4 unreturned serve, Lendl whacks a couple of passing winners in between

Lendl wraps up the set by breaking again with 4 winners, this time to love.

Second set is more traditional with fairly comfortable holds. Mac fights back from 40-0 down to push a game to deuce, but is thwarted from going further by excellent passing. The break comes in game 8, where Lendl follows a gracefully guided BH dtl return pass winner with a whacked BH inside-out one to give himself 3 break points. Mac saves all 3, but then double faults to give Lendl a fourth. On it, Ivan stand and delivers a BH cc return winner off a body serve

Not an easy serve out for Lendl. chip-charges from Mac see the score to 15-40. Lendl shows he knows a bit about net play himself as he saves both break points by approaching and forcing hard passing errors. Amidst his more eye-catchingly impressive showings in the match, Lendl finishes a perfect 8/8 at net. He wraps up the match with a mid-court FH cc passing winner and an ace

Summing up, top drawer from Lendl. While power is the most obvious strong point of his play, there's plenty of precision, touch and consistency there too. Mac's serve just isn't good enough to withstand the assault and he's left desperately scraping in hope at net

Stats for Mac's matches with Boris Becker the same year -

Stats for Lendl-McEnroe Antwerp '85 -