Match Stats/Report - Pioline vs Edberg, Monte Carlo semi-final, 1993


Hall of Fame
Cedric Pioline beat Stefan Edberg 6-4, 6-4 in the Monte Carlo semi-final, 1993 on clay

Piloline would go onto lose the final to Sergi Bruguera. Edberg had recently played what would turn out to be his last Slam final in Australia. Pioline would go onto play his first later in the year at the US Open

Pioline won 67 points, Edberg 49

Edberg serve-volleyed off most first serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (31/50) 62%
- 1st serve points won (20/31) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (15/19) 79%
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (6/50) 12%

- 1st serve percentage (42/66) 64%
- 1st serve points won (23/42) 55%
- 2nd serve points won (11/24) 46%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (15/66) 23%

Serve Patterns
Pioline served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 67%

Edberg served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 48%
- to Body 21%

Return Stats
Pioline made...
- 48 (20 FH, 28 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 4 Winners (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 13 Forced (6 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (48/63) 76%

Edberg made...
- 42 (17 FH, 25 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 3 return-approaches
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach attempt
- 2 Forced (2 BH)
- Return Rate (42/48) 88%

Break Points
Pioline 4/12 (6 games)
Edberg 2/3 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Pioline 21 (9 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 4 BHV)
Edberg 4 (2 FH, 2 OH)

Pioline's FHs (all passes) - 5 cc, 3 dtl (1 return) and 1 inside-out at net
- BHs (all passes) - 3 cc (1 return), 1 inside-out return (that Edberg left), 1 inside-in return and 1 lob

- 2 from serve-volley points - (2 FHV), both first volleys

Edberg's FHs - 2 cc

- 1 OH was on the bounce

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Pioline 28
- 12 Unforced (6 FH, 4 BH, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 Over-Shoulder)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45

Edberg 37
- 23 Unforced (9 FH, 8 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
- 14 Forced (1 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.4

(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
Pioline was...
- 10/16 (63%) at net, including...
- 2/3 (67%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 0/1 forced back

Edberg was...
- 25/56 (45%) at net, including...
- 19/36 (53%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 17/32 (53%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/4 (50%) off 2nd serve
- 0/3 return-approaching

Match Report
More one sided than a 4 and 4 scoreline would indicate. Choice strong returning and very good passing from Pioline is the standout feature and he also dominates baseline consistency, though that's as much due to Edberg being poor as Pioline being strong

Basic stats to gauge who was better player confirm Pioline's superiority. He wins 67 points to Edberg's 49, despite serving 50 of them to Edberg's 66. Has 12 break points in 6 games to Edberg's 3 in 2

Other stats of interest -
- Pioline winning 79% second serve points, by far the highest of the 4 serves on show
- Baseline UEs - the backbone of clay court tennis - Pioline 10, Edberg 17
- Edberg's very high return rate of 88% - 12% better than Pioline. And most of it is neutralizing. Getting so many balls in play to start rally with 50-50 prospects and still losing the overwhelming bulk (Edberg wins just 30% return points - including 2 by double faults) speaks again to Pioline's dominance
- Edberg winning just 45% net points. I think this is the lowest I've seen from him
- Edberg with just 4 winners, by far the lowest I know of for him. Not a 1 from serve-volleying, which he does 36 times. Unique?
- Pioline's excellent overall numbers - 21 winners, 12 UEs. Somewhat due to Edberg winning points at net via FEs, thus cutting down scope for Pioline to make UEs, but still top notch

Key to first set is Pioline's greater consistency from the back. Edberg usually stays back off second serves, allowing for baseline rallies. Pioline has full sweeping groundies off both sides. Edberg's FH is particularly soft and he struggles with the high ball on that wing more than he does of the BH. He tends to fall back (more so than Pioline pushing him back). Rallies tend to be medium lenght, but its almost always Edberg who gives up the error

Pioline also comes to net to finish points selectively. Edberg by contrast, struggles to punch volleys through, which along with strong returns from Pioline gets him into trouble even at net

Pioline breaks to go up 2-0, with back-to-back cc passing winners (1 of each side) sandwiched between missing regulation FHV and FH UE. Edberg breaks back with Pioline serving for set, but is broken again right afterwards. There are 2 double faults and a pair of forced volleying errors in the last game

Second set is different. Edberg stays back regularly off first serves but plays more solidly from the back. Conditions are difficult. Its windy all match, but particularly so in second set, with waves of red dust flying about, hampering the player on one side in particular where the wind is headed. At one point, a small part of the court looks bare of red clay and just a brown patch of earth

Despite Edberg's improvement from the back, Pioline still dominates. He's still the better from baseline, though by smaller margin. And his returning and passing are exceptionally good, while Edberg's volleying is quite ordinary

Players trade breaks middle of set, Edberg's break aided by Pioline being on the difficult end of court. Some hairy holds form Edberg due to passing winners but he manages to hold onto serve til game 10, when more strong passing finishes the match

Pioline's Game
Decent serving - not great, but not weak either - in fact, he probably has the stronger first serve (neither players' is strong). Mostly credit Edberg's sure returning for keeping unreturned rate down to very low 12%

Very good returning against the serve-volleying. Good number of balls down to Edberg's feet or troublingly wide. Backed by up strong passing too. He gives Edberg a handful in forecourt. Makes all 21 non-double fault second serve returns @krosero

Sweeping, full swing shots off both wings from the back. its beautiful and has the look of a clay courters shots. He's apt to step in some as needed and copes readily with the high ball. The BH looks more secure than the FH, and has match low 4 UEs

Pioline manufactures approaches, rather than comes in after overpowering Edberg from the back. Doesn't come in much (16 times) but is sharp at net with 6 winners. Decent, power based passing from Edberg, but Pioline's reactions are up to handling those volleys

Edberg's Game
Save the return, below par in all areas from Edberg

Doesn't seem sure of his footwork moving forward. When met by average paced but slightly wide return or/and pass, moves sideways to it gingerly. Doesn't look bad on the volley when he makes them, but slow court can only account for so much, and 0 volley winners coming to net 56 times is beyond that

The 12 groundstroke FEs he forces are virtually all passing shots. By Edberg's standards, they're not too strongly forced. He volleys away form Pioline but short of into corners. 6 UEs on the volley/OH speaks to being sloppy up front. The 10 FEs are more credit to Pioline's passes and returns but sideways movement isn't great from Edberg either

A general note about Edberg's volleying. He tends to not offer a shot at wide balls when on the move forward. These would be very difficult volleys - and he'd have to lunge for the ball, but most volleyers go for such balls. What do they have to lose? Edberg tends not to. Its one of the reasons he looks so elegant at net, without a rushed movement in sight. He doesn't go for the difficult but not unmakeable ball that would necessitate being rushed and less than elegant

Boris Becker is the exact opposite with all the jumping around. Even McEnroe, someone right up there with Edberg on elegance scale, gives it a lunge if necessary

The groundgame is disappointing. In neutral, consistency-based rallies, he's quick to fall back (without Pioline hitting overly hard) and hits fairly feebly (especially off FH). On baseline front, I would as much discredit Edberg's play as credit Pioline's for how play goes

He looks to hit mildly FH inside-out to Pioline's BH, which is something he rarely does. Like most of his FHs, shot lacks punch and doesn't bother the winner too much. In general, its something missing from Edberg's game... a good FH inside-out to approach to right-handers BH with

Summing up, very good showing from Pioline as he returns and passes with precision and power, while comfortably getting better off baseline rallies and being able to finish points at net when so inclined. Edberg's is notably off at net, but more credit Pioline's passing/returning for how that turns out and below average in both his baseline hitting and consistency, especially off FH

Stats for '93 Madrid final between Edberg and Sergi Bruguera -


Thanks for posting. Tough match for Edberg, I didn't see it but it sounds like a bad performance. I will try to find it on YouTube. Edberg lead the H2H 4 to 2 with Pioline winning in Davis Cup at the very end of Edberg's career as his other win so I would expect Stefan would have the upper hand against him. But each match and day is different, some days it is just not meant to be....


Hall of Fame
I remember that match... the weather had been poor all week, I even wonder if they didn't have to play some of the matches indoors, maybe the final itself, at the local club. One has to check... I guess the conditions didn't help Edberg but we have to give credit to Pioline, a much underrated player in my opinion. When he was well into tennis, he was solid as a rock.
That same year he would play the final of the US Open, beating world number one Courier on his way to the final.