Match Stats/Report - Lendl vs McEnroe, US Open quarter-final, 1987

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Ivan Lendl beat John McEnroe 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in the US Open quarter-final, 1987 on hard court

Lendl would go onto win the event, beating Mats Wilander in the final. This was the 5th and last meeting between the pair at the event - Lendl had won in '82 and '85, McEnroe in '80 and '84
previously posted https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1987-uso-qf-lendl-mcenroe.195838/

Lendl won 91 points, McEnroe 71

McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and all but 6 seconds

Serve Stats
Lendl...
- 1st serve percentage (47/75) 63%
- 1st serve points won (36/47) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (22/28) 79%
- Aces 8 (1 second serve), Service Winners 4
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (29/75) 39%

McEnroe...
- 1st serve percentage (49/87) 56%
- 1st serve points won (36/49) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (18/38) 47%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/87) 37%

Serve Patterns
Lendl served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 54%
- to Body 4%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 50%
- to Body 20%

Return Stats
Lendl made...
- 48 (20 FH, 28 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 6 Winners (3 FH, 3 BH)
- 31 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 28 Forced (12 FH, 16 BH)
- Return Rate (48/80) 60%

McEnroe made...
- 43 (19 FH, 24 BH), including 14 return-approaches
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (3 FH, 6 BH), including 5 return-approach attempts
- 8 Forced (1 FH, 7 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- Return Rate (43/72) 60%

Break Points
Lendl 4/9 (5 games)
McEnroe 0

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Lendl 28 (16 FH, 9 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
McEnroe 15 (3 FH, 4 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 OH)

Lendl's FH passes - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 1 dtl/longline, 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 longline return, 2 inside-out, 2 inside-in returns and 5 lobs
- regular FH - 1 inside-out
- BHs (all passes) - 4 cc (2 returns) and 5 dtl (1 return, 1 McEnroe misjudged and left)

McEnroe had 11 from serve-volley points
- 8 first volleys (2 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)
- 3 second 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 OH, 1 FH at net)

- 1 FHV from a return-approach point

- FHs - 2 cc (1 turnaround pass)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Lendl 21
- 6 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV)
- 15 Forced (4 FH, 9 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.7

McEnroe 27
- 16 Unforced (1 FH, 7 BH, 5 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
- 11 Forced (2 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.8

(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...
- 6/12 (50%) at net, including...
-0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

McEnroe was...
- 54/93 (58%) at net, including...
- 49/73 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 35/48 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 14/25 (56%) off 2nd serve
---
- 3/14 (21%) return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Very good from Lendl, very poor from McEnroe... more very poor from Mac than good from Lendl - it largely limiting the scope to how well Lendl can play. Match looks like a great baseliner against a weak net player

There's practically nothing that Mac does well. Serve isn't powerful or well placed. Note just the 1 ace. Very few serves that stretch or move Lendl, who gets a good look at the return virtually every ball. Mac's constant serve-volleying (he stays back on just 6 serves all match - and 3 of those draw return errors, Lendl likely playing the return assuming a serve-volley) and Lendl's pointedly going for low, flat returns in response accounts for still high 37% unreturned serves. If there's an area Lendl could have done even better on, its putting more returns in play

Volleys, including the OH, aren't great either. Lendl returns and passes firmly, but not devastatingly and Mac can't make the volleys. Note 8 volley/OH UEs to 6 FEs... the UEs are relatively hard for UEs but the FEs are relatively easy for FEs. Above average power shots cause Mac much difficulty. And many of the misses are very poor shots, dumped half-way up the net. Not good at decisively finishing, not good with the regulation ones and well below not good at anything even a bit hard

The highlight of the match is Lendl's lob. He pops over 5 winners and forces Mac back a couple of times. There's a particularly good one that lands half way between baseline and service line. Even so, Mac's off on the OH too, not effectively jumping to reach the ball. At least one error and not putting another away which leads to getting passed. Commentators mention a back problem (in connection with changes in Mac's serve), which makes sense. Both the drop off on his serve and in this match, the OH, are in line with a bad back

Return is flimsy. Lendl does serve strong to begin match and his second serve in particular remains so throughout. But not 39% unreturned serves strong. Good chunk of makeable first serve returns that Mac again puts half way up the net. He looks a boy trying to return a man's serve

Hopeless mismatch from the baseline. Lendl firmly hits balls (again, short of all out powerfully), and Mac can't cope. His BH falls apart. Simply, he's overpowered, but Lendl's power isn't over the top

Mac tries different things on return. In final set, he takes to returning even first serves from about 1/2way between service line and baseline. Lendl usually misses his first serve, but Mac can block one or 2 back - and they fly of his racquet to rush Lendl. Occasionally and more rarely, Mac falls back and returns from well behind baseline. Nothing much works

Note Mac winning just 3/14 return-approaches (and he has 6 errors trying). Credit Lendl for this. First, his second serve is exceptionally strong and the returns Mac makes are relatively soft and short. Second, he passes superbly (Mac also doesn't volley too well). The way Lendl dominates this play - the key one in matches between the pair - serves to highlight just how much Mac has lost from older times and how good he was then. chip-charging strong serves and coping with Lendl's power passes is difficult work... Mac used to make it look a high percentage play. In this match, Lendl shoots holes through it with seeming disdainful ease

Lendl is completely untroubled on serve all match. 77% first serve points won, 79% second serve points won, facing 0 break points. He wins his first 13 second serve points in the match. In fact, sans double faults, he doesn't lose a second serve point til the third set. At 1 point, he wins 21 straight service points

From Lendl's point of view, strong serving - especially the second serve - but not strong enough to justify the kinds of numbers he's posted. Firm returning, but scope for greater consistency (especially in light of Mac not volleying particularly well). Strong and heavy off the baseline and on the pass - again, probably not enough to justify his numbers. He needs Mac's poor play to make it a thrashing

Match Progression
Easy holds til game 7, when 3 Mac double faults hands over the break. Lendl breaks again to take the set - lovely glided BH cc return winner in the game, but it ends with 2 Mac forecourt UEs

Lendl breaks to go up 2-0 in second set, making it 6 games on the trot. 2 wonderful FH lob winners - 1 landing 1/2way between service line and baseline, the other hit on the run - and Mac missing 2 makeable but not easy volleys. Lendl nurses the break through to win the set

At start of 3rd set, Mac starts returning from inside the court. He has Lendl at 0-30 in the first return game, but that's power played away. A feature of this match is Lendl coming to net when he needs to. He's only there 12 times because he can blast Mac away from the baseline... but its easier to come in and do the same thing. Mac's passing is as feeble as the rest of his groundstroking (Lendl winning just 50% net points is partially due to a few forced approaches to drop volleys). Mac wins his first return-approach point of the match in this game, but Lendl whacks a FH cc passing winner of the same play next point, and takes net to finish the game

Lendl breaks next game with a couple of good FH passes, while Mac also doubles and misses a near routine first volley (return was bit more powerful than average - though normal for Lendl).

While Lendl continues to cruise on serve, Mac is pushed to 14 points on a further game

Few good shots near the end. Lendl whacks a FH return winner longline, not even inside-in. Last two points of match are both Lendl passing winners against return-approaching Mac... the first dtl/longline and the second, one of his best in the match. A good wide, deep return from Mac, but Lendl chip-guides the ball BH cc for the winner to seal the match

Summing up, strong in all areas by Ivan Lendl and even more weak in the same by John McEnroe. A mismatch and a thrashing

Stats for Lendl's semi versus Jimmy Connors - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/duel-match-stats-reports-lendl-vs-connors-us-open-semi-finals-1985-1987.665030/#post-14182694
 
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magnut

Hall of Fame
That was an ugly match for Mcenroe. Lendl just blasted him off the court. The power game had arrived and McEnroe was never the same. John looked old and slow in the match just reacting to everything Ivan did. John was so desperate he was returning serve way inside the court which was fun to watch as McEnroe was nailing some pretty impressive returns.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
That was an ugly match for Mcenroe. Lendl just blasted him off the court. The power game had arrived and McEnroe was never the same. John looked old and slow in the match just reacting to everything Ivan did. John was so desperate he was returning serve way inside the court which was fun to watch as McEnroe was nailing some pretty impressive returns.
There was nothing 'new' here, really. John had been blown off the court by Ivan in other matches. Mac had a very good run against him in '84, '85 where he served and volleyed SO well, that Ivan could not do very much. But, once Ivan got into the point, Mac was going to be at a disadvantage at the baseline. Plus, Mac in '87 was not Mac of '84 or '85...shoot, Connors was playing better than Mac in '87 and he was hitting his golden oldies.
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
There was nothing 'new' here, really. John had been blown off the court by Ivan in other matches. Mac had a very good run against him in '84, '85 where he served and volleyed SO well, that Ivan could not do very much. But, once Ivan got into the point, Mac was going to be at a disadvantage at the baseline. Plus, Mac in '87 was not Mac of '84 or '85...shoot, Connors was playing better than Mac in '87 and he was hitting his golden oldies.
It probably has more weight because it was at the US Open and Mac just looked like his game had aged very badly. I think Haarhuis and Woodforde beat him the next 2 years. It wasnt until 90 that he had a decent US open run again and it was his last (good run to the semis though). Jimmy was always more consistent than Mac at the open. I think 92 was Conners worst as Lendl was just a superior player at that point. McEnroe retired way too early. He could have been a factor for at least 3 more years if he would have dedicated himself. and thats just singles. Doubles Mac could have went a lot longer. John was just lazy as far as professional athletes go. Funny for a guy that supposedly worshiped Laver.... who was a physical force even past his prime.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
Am I missing something here? Is there something particularly compelling about this match, such that it merits so much detailed dissection more than 30 years later?
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
Am I missing something here? Is there something particularly compelling about this match, such that it merits so much detailed dissection more than 30 years later?
the older matches are more entertaining than what we have now for the most part. Lots of different styles, more tactics, and players that truely hated each other and would not accept losing. Players also played to win and tried to make things happen on court. Jimmy Conners would be considered a serve and volleyer in todays game.
 

max_brat

Rookie
Also, not giving any excuses, but Mac was trying a new Dunlop racquet for this tournament. Instead of his normal Max 200G, he was using the Max Competition, in which you could adjust the weight with ball bearings at 3 and 9 to get the "feel" you wanted. I don't know how much practice he got with the racquet, but like his 1R loss to Rostagno at Wimbledon in 1990 (in which he used a Head Prestige 600 that he picked up the day before the match), Mac switching racquets in his late career seemed not to work for him too well
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
Rostagno was a very dangerous player and John deserved that beatdown.

I am a McEnroe fan but he basically gave up. He thought he was bigger than the game and enjoyed the celebrity aspects more than the game itself. Meanwhile the rest of the tour were working their tails off to get better. The game didnt just pass John as much as it did he stopped caring. While he would brag about not likeing to practice Ivan was having the US Open crew put courts in at his house to match the surface.

Thats the sad thing with John. He probably could have been the greatest. He competed hard and had the skill but he did not have the work ethic. He trains more now than he did when he was on tour.

Since Mcenroe only Rios IMO matches his natural ability. And people like to rag on Marcello but he worked his ass off when he was at the top of the game. Only injuries put Rios out. McEnroe just kind of gave up and made his mind up it wasnt worth the work. agassi was the same. Thank god he broke out of it or Andre would probably only have two majors on his record.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
It probably has more weight because it was at the US Open and Mac just looked like his game had aged very badly. I think Haarhuis and Woodforde beat him the next 2 years. It wasnt until 90 that he had a decent US open run again and it was his last (good run to the semis though). Jimmy was always more consistent than Mac at the open. I think 92 was Conners worst as Lendl was just a superior player at that point. McEnroe retired way too early. He could have been a factor for at least 3 more years if he would have dedicated himself. and thats just singles. Doubles Mac could have went a lot longer. John was just lazy as far as professional athletes go. Funny for a guy that supposedly worshiped Laver.... who was a physical force even past his prime.
Mac took that lay off in 1986 and that did him no favors. He also did weight training during that time and gained some muscle mass. I don't think that helped his game, at all. John had been pretty strong at the open...finals, QFs....the one odd loss to Scanlon in '83. Not quite Connors in that sense, but JC was the exception, let's face it. Connors worst loss was '86, R3 to Witsken. But, I do think John quit a bit too early. Then went and played the seniors tour of all things.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Rostagno was a very dangerous player and John deserved that beatdown.

I am a McEnroe fan but he basically gave up. He thought he was bigger than the game and enjoyed the celebrity aspects more than the game itself. Meanwhile the rest of the tour were working their tails off to get better. The game didnt just pass John as much as it did he stopped caring. While he would brag about not likeing to practice Ivan was having the US Open crew put courts in at his house to match the surface. Thats the sad thing with John. He probably could have been the greatest. He competed hard and had the skill but he did not have the work ethic. He trains more now than he did when he was on tour.
I tend to agree; guys like Connors and Lendl worked their tails off and had consistency, longevity and much success. John accomplished a lot, in a shorter time, but likely could have surpassed all of his peers, if he had that kind of singular focus.
 
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