Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Agassi, Cincinnati semi-final, 1999

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 7-6(7), 6-4 in the Cincinnati semi-final, 1999 on hard court

The two players - along with Yevgeny Kafelnikov - were locked in a race for the world number 1 position, with whoever having the best result at the event being at world number 1. Sampras went onto win the title over Pat Rafter to solidify his number 1 status, but missed the US Open, which Agassi won. Agassi finished the year as number 1, putting an end to Sampras record six straight years at the top spot.

Sampras won 71 points, Agassi 59

Sampras serve-volleyed on all his first serves and the majority of the second

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (32/59) 54%
- 1st serve points won (29/32) 91%
- 2nd serve points won (17/27) 63%
- Aces 8 (1 second serve), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/59) 46%

Agassi....
- 1st serve percentage (36/71) 51%
- 1st serve points won (25/36) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (21/35) 60%
- Aces 6 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (24/71) 34%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 57%
- to BH 42%
- to Body 2%

Agassi served....
- to FH 30%
- to BH 70%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 45 (9 FH, 36 BH), including 5 chip-charges
- 4 Winners (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (3 FH, 5 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt
- 8 Forced (6 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (45/69) 65%

Agassi made...
- 25 (15 FH, 10 BH)
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH)
- 15 Forced (10 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (25/53) 47%

Break Points
Sampras 2/3 (3 games)
Agassi 1/1 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 23 (6 FH, 8 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 5 OH)
Agassi 7 (3 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)

Sampras had 10 from serve-volley points
- 5 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 FH @ net, 1 BH @ net)
- 5 second volleys (1 FHV, 4 OH)

- FHs - 4 cc (1 pass, 1 return), 1 inside-out

- BHs - 4 cc (2 passes), 2 dtl (2 returns), 1 inside-in return

Agassi's FHs - 1 dtl/inside-out and 2 cc (2 passes)

- BHs - 1 dtl and 1 cc (1 pass)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 22
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- 15 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH,1 FH1/2V, 6 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 42.9

Agassi 18
- 6 Unforced (4 FH,1 BH, 1 OH)
- 12 Forced (5 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.3

(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
Sampras was 33/43 (77%) at net, including 30/34 (88%) serve-volleying - off first serve 21/23 (91%), off second serve 9/11 (82%) - and 2/5 chip-charge returning

Agassi was 5/11 (45%) at net, with no serve-volley
He was 0/1 when forced back
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Match Report
Tip top from Pete Sampras, while Agassi also plays well on this quick hard court

The key is Sampras' serve. 46% unreturned serves, 91% first serve points won, 63% second serve points won. Agassi just can't conjure chances against it. The only break Agassi gets is in a game where Pete double faults 3 times in a row (and 2 breaks up at that point anyway)

The first set is very close. Neither man has a break point. Sampras is able to win odd points on return (more so than Agassi anyway), but still isn't really a threat to break. In the set, Sampras serves 35 points, Agassi 41

So it comes down to the tiebreak, which is high quality stuff. The key point is one where Sampras' approach shot hits the top of the net and thus, bounces slowly and easily for Agassi to line up the pass... but Agassi's pass attempt also hits the top of the net - and goes out.

Sampras races out to a 4-0 lead in the second set - and even has a break point to go up 5-0. He takes care of his service games with big serves that Agassi can't read or handle - and volleys well enough when needed to. On return, he takes the ball exceptionally early. He's usually inside the court to take the second serve and sometimes does so even against the first serve

Naturally, he makes a few errors doing stuff like that - but when it comes good, Agassi is pressed.

The baseline action (mostly on Agassi's service games) are mostly BH-BH. The standard Agassi-Sampras dynamic of Sampras patiently resisting making errors on the BH, and daring Agassi to try to finish the point down the line.... where Pete is ready to pounce with his stunning running FH. He hits a couple of winners in this way and his BH holds up well in the neutral rallies

Summing up - outstanding serving from Sampras and daring returning.... basically, he shut out Agassi, who can only play as well as he's allowed to.
 
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krosero

Legend
I once used the ATP stats to compare ace counts in the Sampras-Agassi matches. In ATP stats this Cincy match was the only time Agassi matched Sampras in the ace count (8 aces given to each man); and he never out-aced Pete. Of course, ATP stats only begin in ’91; and Slice Serve Ace found that Agassi did out-ace Sampras at the ATP Championships (YEC) in 1990.

Wasp you have Sampras with an 8-6 edge in aces in this Cincy match. But you've marked down 2 service winners for Agassi. I wonder if that means that the ATP sometimes counted not-clean aces as aces.
 

Pistol10

Professional
Sampras looks particularly cocky at several points in that video!
Not just in this match. At the end of his career, since 99, he really lost the passion for the sport, played well with joy when facing familiar opponents: Agassi, Rafter...etc, like a good memories, knows them very well so there wasn't any reason for a long study & preparation, but when facing new hot blood as Safin & Hewett, it's another Pete! That's why he wasn't consistent at the end of his career, no consistent performance all the season, something sadly I've witnessed.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
I once used the ATP stats to compare ace counts in the Sampras-Agassi matches. In ATP stats this Cincy match was the only time Agassi matched Sampras in the ace count (8 aces given to each man); and he never out-aced Pete. Of course, ATP stats only begin in ’91; and Slice Serve Ace found that Agassi did out-ace Sampras at the ATP Championships (YEC) in 1990.
I'm stunned that Agassi could out ace Sampras in 1990.... his serve was downright weak back then. I remember the tournament well (took stats for the final) and can confirm it was lightning fast conditions

Without seeing the match, I'd speculate Sampras' lazy returning might be the cause

Don't think Sampras cared if he was Aced or yielded a 'return error'... he let's quite a lot of serves through that he could definitely have at least got a racquet on. And he was mentally weak back then, tending to throw in the towel when the going got tough (probably even more so in a round robin match)

I know Chang out aced Pete a few times too... a product of Pete's lazy returning tendency coupled with Chang's borderline neurotic desire to do his best on every shot

Wasp you have Sampras with an 8-6 edge in aces in this Cincy match. But you've marked down 2 service winners for Agassi. I wonder if that means that the ATP sometimes counted not-clean aces as aces.
Not sure, but can confirm my counts

1st set - Sampras 5 (1 2nd serve), Agassi 3
2nd set - Sampras 3, Agassi 3 (1 2nd serve)

Agassi wins game 7 second set with 4 unreturned serves - including 2 aces (1 second serve), and 1 I've judged a service winner

The 2nd serve ace was a product of Sampras stepping well into the court to try to pressure Agassi

Not just in this match. At the end of his career, since 99, he really lost the passion for the sport, played well with joy when facing familiar opponents: Agassi, Rafter...etc, like a good memories, knows them very well so there wasn't any reason for a long study & preparation, but when facing new hot blood as Safin & Hewett, it's another Pete! That's why he wasn't consistent at the end of his career, no consistent performance all the season, something sadly I've witnessed.
I mostly agree

Pete was always a 'Slams are everything' kinda guy, but I think he had an ego on him and beating the likes of Agassi or Rafter (even outside Slams) still stirred him up because of the history

For the young up and comers like Hewitt and Safin , probably not so much (though that wouldn't hold for Slams, especially finals... sometimes even he was just outclassed)

There's an interview (I think in the 2001 Indian Welles final), where Pete's asked how important regaining #1 is for him

He shrugs it off - says it'd be nice but not a priority. been there, done that, lost my hair in the process. .. not in a place to play all the Super 9s nowadays, going to leave that to the younger guys
 

Pistol10

Professional
been there, done that, lost my hair in the process.
:D:D:D... I agree 100%.

He lost his game since the tragic death of his coach (Tim Gullikson) in May 96, I do believe that if this didn't happen, Pete would have a different statics, he stoped developing his game (except volley) & lost his consistency since then.
 
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