Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Agassi, Wimbledon final, 1999

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 in the Wimbledon final, 1999 on grass

It was Sampras' 6th Wimbledon title and second time winning 3 in a row. Agassi had recently completed his career Grand Slam by winning the French Open, would go onto win the upcoming US Open and finish the year ranked number 1. Sampras had been year end number 1 for the previous 6 years

Sampras won 106 points, Agassi 85

Sampras serve-volleyed off all serves

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (55/93) 59%
- 1st serve points won (48/55) 87%
- 2nd serve points won (19/38) 50%
- Aces 17 (2 second serves), Service Winners 5
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/93) 46%

Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (42/98) 43%
- 1st serve points won (31/42) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (28/56) 50%
- Aces 5
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (36/98) 37%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 53%
- to BH 44%
- to Body 2%

Agassi served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 62%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 56 (16 FH, 40 BH), including 4 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 31 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (2 FH, 9 BH)
- 20 Forced (13 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (56/92) 61%

Agassi made...
- 45 (21 FH, 24 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 21 Errors, all forced...
- 21 Forced (12 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (45/88) 51%

Break Points
Sampras 3/9 (6 games)
Agassi 0/4 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 31 (8 FH, 5 BH, 9 FHV, 4 BHV, 5 OH)
Agassi 22 (9 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH)

Sampras had 18 from serve-volley points
- 8 first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 1 BHV, 3 FH at net)
- 10 second volleys (3 FHV, 3 BHV, 4 OH)... 1 BHV was a diving shot

- 2 from return-approach points - both FHVs

- FHs - 1 cc return, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in returns
- BHs - 3 cc (1 return) and 2 dtl (1 pass)

Agassi's regular FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 net chord dribbler
- FH passes - 2 cc and 2 inside-out returns
- regular BH - 1 inside-out
- BH passes - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 inside-out return and 1 inside-in return (that Sampras left)

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a second volley OH
- the FHV was played net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 22
- 11 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH, 4 BHV)
- 11 Forced (1 FH, 2 BH, 4 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.1

Agassi 26
- 16 Unforced (9 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV)... the FHV was a non-net shot
- 10 Forced (5 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46

(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...
- 49/72 (68%) at net, including...
- 45/66 (68%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 28/35 (80%) off 1st serve and...
- 17/31 (55%) off 2nd serve
---
- 3/4 (75%) return-approaching

Agassi was...
- 11/12 (92%) at net, including...
- 3/4 (75%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 2/3 (67%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/1 off 2nd serve...
---
- 1/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Sampras covers almost all his bases and certainly the ones he absolutely needs to while Agassi serves not well in a convincing result

Look at Agassi's 43% first serve in count. And that's with an at best, above average first serve and decent second. Sampras by contrast serves at 59% while bombing down both serves and serve-volleying behind all of it. On strength of this alone, match seems heavily loaded against Agassi... its kept as close as it is (just 1 break per set) by patchy returning from Pete

Sampras starts match near serving 2 'first' serves. He has 2 double faults after his first 8 service points, but no more for the opening set while sending down 7 aces (and 1 service winner). It seems likely to shut down Agassi completely

It doesn't. When he can make the return, Agassi pounds it but Sampras proves equal to making low first volleys. And is fleet in covering net for second volleys. Still, Agassi makes his chances. He has an early break point on back of forcing a couple 'volley' errors (1 is a half-volley), which are power served away. Later, he reaches 0-40... same response from Pete

Bad game from Agassi to get broken - a third ball BH inside-out winner attempt error (his first service point in match had been a winner with same shot), a double fault and missing a deep-ish FH third ball sees him broken to 15. First point of the game though was a superb Pete BH cc winner from regulation position

Sampras breaks to love to start the second too. BH dtl winner and error forcingly wide and deep FH cc return are his major contributions. He also hangs in in a baseline rally to hit a deepish BH that Agassi nets and Agassi makes a hash of FHV winner attempt from no-man's land to open court on break point

Sampras wins 23/26 points from late in first set to early in second

Great diving BHV winner from Pete a bit later. Agassi does well to not go down 2 breaks when on break point, he manages to get a strong pass off to a deep and powerful BH return after its almost past him that forces volleying error. No problems on serve for Pete though and he continues to do so to see out set

More of the same in third, with Pete in a groove on serve. He eases back a bit on attacking returning, still having chances on back of Agassi errors. The break comes late in the set and is particularly poor from Agassi - 3 regulation third ball misses (all at least attacking shots) and a double fault. And Sampras serves out match, finishing with 2 aces - the one on match point a second serve
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Sampras' Serve Games
Extremely strong serving from Sampras. The firsts, regularly untouchable (15 aces, 5 service winners... plenty more not far off the latter category), the seconds, would make decent first serves (2 aces and a few near service winners), probably stronger on average than Agassi's firsts. 46% unreturned rate though, is - remarkable as it seems - one of of his lower yields for a Wimbledon title match because...

... Agassi returns well. he's aced/service winner'd 22 times and makes just 1 fewer error than that. Due to his early returning position, he's aced a bit more than necessary but the trade of is he's able to get meaty returns off when he isn't. The serves Agassi returns are at least powerful enough that even placed in his swing zone they're tough to return... and most aren't in his swing zone

The returns Agassi makes tend to give Sampras 'regulation +' first volleys... balls around net high (usually a bit lower, sometimes a bit higher), at above average speeds. Its a great starting point to test the volleyer... even great volleyers inevitably make UEs against this line of counter-attack. To be clear, this isn't Agassi's strategy or choice.... he returns as well as he's allowed, but is able to get such returns off. Most players would be leaving comfy first volleys above the net against this calibre serving

Sampras is up to it. Controls these not-easy first volleys (just 4 UEs) and places them away from baseliner. Dispatches the ones that are there to be dispatched. Copes well with the particularly low and powerful ones too. His 8 FEs are as often as not second volleys

Agassi's strong on the passing shot too. He's quick to reach the ball (and has to be with Sampras placement) and hammers the balls. Sampras again, is up to it and covers net exceptionally well. 10/18 of his s/v winners are second volleys. The OHs stand out for quality... many balls hit back-pedalling and not a sign of a mishit

To be clear, with 46% unreturned serves and the large number of unreturnables, Pete's showing is 'serve-botty' on the whole as tends to be on grass. But Agassi strikes well and (relatively) regularly enough to threaten about as often as anyone could hope for against it. When those moments come, Pete's proves exemplary in his net play

55% second serve-volleying is a good figure for both players. Its a normal standard first serve calibre second serve... I'd estimate 60%+ win rate to be a reasonable expectation for Pete behind it. Good job by Agassi keeping it down from there and good job by Pete to keep it as high, against Agassi's returning and passing

That and comparitively low 5 double faults are key to Pete's service showing. The way he's serving, could easily be double or more than that. In nutshell, Sampras 'botting up a storm and coping with strong returning/passing when the return comes back

Agassi's Serve Games
43% first serves in from Agassi. That'd sink him at the best of times

Some risky stuff with the first serve too. Serving 35% to FH and 62% to BH looks about normal... but a high proportion of first serves are to Sampras' FH, particularly out wide in deuce court Note Sampras' return errors -
13/20 FEs are FHs but just 2/11 UEs are

Sampras is able to go for attacking FH returns. On top of the 3 winners (none passes), there are a number of wide FH cc's that force errors or give Agassi a difficult third ball. He misses a lot too as the error count and Agassi's 37% unreturned rate indicate... but having locked down his service games, he has nothing to lose

Agassi serving to Sampras' FH takes on dynamic similar to serve-volleying; drawing lots of errors (substantial part of which is Sampras' inconsistency of return), also opening up chances for return to end points (which doesn't have to be the case with Agassi on baseline)... from Sampras' point of view, this is good

Still, on whole, good serving from Agassi, by his standard. Just a small number of readily makeable first serves and the odd forceful second too. While Sampras' aggressive returning accounts for some of his low 61% return rate... he's also not too consistent on the shot, missing a fair chunk of readily makeable returns

From late in first set to most of second, Sampras is apt to take returns early, standing in court regularly and occasionally well inside. That he can do so without undue difficulty is an indicator of Agassi's second serve quality. In third set, he returns more orthodoxly.

In play, Agassi looks to boss action from the back and isn't slow to look for kill shots. He has better of action, but not by much and certainly not to the extent that promises he can keep holding playing so. Note Sampras with fewer baseline UEs 7 to 16 (Agassi's FHV UE is not a net point). Even more than that, look at surprising UEFI. Agassi, despite all his shots being baseline ones, has very high 51.9. Sampras, with just 64% baseline shots, scores a lower 49.1

This would indicate Agassi being very aggresive off the ground. He misses 8 winner attempts to Pete's 3

Some credit to Pete for this. He holds up well in neutral rallies, hitting firm and deep... leaving Agassi unable to count on winning points by just beating him down. 'Neutral' isn't a great description... what passes for neutral is hard hitting, pseudo-attacking play from both. Pete's showing in this area also keeps Agassi back

Note Agassi winning 11/12 or 92% net points. Net play had been key element of his winning the French Open and he'd shown fine instincts and execution at net there. Why doesn't he look to come in more here? Pete makes it not easy to do so by hitting firmly from back but still, Agassi's more in charge from there than otherwise... and errs in not doing so. Played well, its a safer way to finish points than going for big baseline winners from the back

Good movement from both players. No obvious advantage for Pete in this area... Agassi's more impressive still in chasing balls in his return games but is good on the baseline rallies too

For all the credit to Pete for doing well off baseline... 2/3 breaks in the match come out of bona fida bad games from Agassi with poor shots and shot selection from the back

Summing up, Sampras locks down his service games with typical highest level serving, backed up with efficient net play against Agassi returning and passing very well, given how little he's allowed. Poor service percentage from Agassi opens door for Sampras on other side of things... some damaging returns balanced by some inconsistency on the second shot from Pete, while holding firm trading groundies from the back

Odds would strongly be in favour of Sampras coming out ahead, even with Agassi in top form off the ground. As is, spurts of loose play from Agassi leads to the necessary breaks

Stats for '99 Queen's Club final between Sampras and Tim Henman - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-sampras-vs-henman-queens-club-final-1999.650516/
Stats for pair's '99 Cincinnati semi shortly after - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-sampras-vs-agassi-cincinnati-semi-final-1999.636368/
Stats' for pair's '99 Year End Championship matches - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/duel-match-stats-report-sampras-vs-agassi-year-end-championship-finals-round-robin-1999.645308/
Stats for '99 French Open final between Agassi and Andrei Medvedev - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-agassi-vs-medvedev-french-open-final-1999.611261/
 
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WCT

Semi-Pro
Sampras s/v on 31 of 38 2nd serves, but only 34 of 55 1st serves? That seem very unusual. Regarding Agassi, The French and his net play there. He came in 29 times in close to 300 points. Not exactly a net rushing demon. Still can't get over Pete's s/v numbers. I don't have any great recall on this match, but I would have sure guessed there was no way he s/v a higher % on 2nd serves.
 
Sampras s/v on 31 of 38 2nd serves, but only 34 of 55 1st serves? That seem very unusual. Regarding Agassi, The French and his net play there. He came in 29 times in close to 300 points. Not exactly a net rushing demon. Still can't get over Pete's s/v numbers. I don't have any great recall on this match, but I would have sure guessed there was no way he s/v a higher % on 2nd serves.
aces aren’t counted for S&V numbers
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
Thanks for the tip. Didn't realize that. When I did stats, I did count it. Now it's 34 of 40.
Still lower than I would have thought on his 1st. And the 2nd becomes 31 of 36. So, about the same % for each.
 
Thanks for the tip. Didn't realize that. When I did stats, I did count it. Now it's 34 of 40.
Still lower than I would have thought on his 1st. And the 2nd becomes 31 of 36. So, about the same % for each.
there were also 5 service winners. They don’t count in net stats either.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Sampras s/v on 31 of 38 2nd serves, but only 34 of 55 1st serves? That seem very unusual.... Still can't get over Pete's s/v numbers. I don't have any great recall on this match, but I would have sure guessed there was no way he s/v a higher % on 2nd serves.
He serve-volleyed 100% of the time... aces, service winners and double faults get discounted

38 second serves with 2 aces and 5 doubles leaves 31 for him to s/v off
55 first serves with 15 aces and 5 service winners leaves 35 to s/v off (made an addition mistake which I've corrected)

Regarding Agassi, The French and his net play there. He came in 29 times in close to 300 points.
Not net rushing numbers, but about his approach to play

As more commanding baseliner, he has two options
- carry on banging away to draw error (or hit a winner from the back)
- or come in to net to finish point

He switched to latter mentality at the French final against Medvedev and also in 4th round against Moya (and probably other matches too)

He doesn't here

He has 7 winner attempt misses from the baseline (1 other was a FHV from no man's land which is technically a baseline shot). That's a lot, given he only has 5 bona fida baseline to baseline winners (others are passes and a net chord dribbler)

worth considering looking to finish at net as an alternative, especially when he's won 7/7 coming in off rallies than
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
Wow. I've discussed stats with you before. I mean how we keep them. Either we never discussed this or I forgot it. No, there is no doubt I would count it as s/v if the returner got his racquet on the ball.

I might not have noticed with Wasp before. because he will say so and so s/v this often on 1st and 2nd serves. I mean before the actual stats. Something like player a s/v on all 1st serves and all but 5 2nd serves. He didn't do that here.

I will definitely keep that in mind for future reference, though. This response was to Moose, Wasp. Saw your reply after I posted.
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
Question for Moose and Wasp. How exactly do you define a service winner as opposed to a ace or unreturned serve? Wasp, I knew I remembered you and I having pretty similar s/v stats for Connors at the 75 Australian. And I knew he had a lot of unreturned serves in that match. I looked and you had him with 4 aces and 2 service winners, but 39 unreturned serves. I'm guessing a service winner is one where the returner barely touches it?
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
How exactly do you define a service winner as opposed to a ace or unreturned serve? Wasp, I knew I remembered you and I having pretty similar s/v stats for Connors at the 75 Australian. And I knew he had a lot of unreturned serves in that match. I looked and you had him with 4 aces and 2 service winners, but 39 unreturned serves. I'm guessing a service winner is one where the returner barely touches it?
To me, a service winner is

- completely unreturnable, but returner got a reasonable racquet on ball
- returner got nowhere near to returning it

If returner just nicks the ball - the kind of thing you probably wouldn't notice without audio - I'll mark that a non-clean ace

I don't like the idea of service winners because it doesn't correspond to anything in play
- aces correspond to winners
- non-clean aces to non-clean winners (both very rare)
- Return FEs/UEs to FEs/UEs

.... what's the 'service winner' equivalent to something in play? Informally (as in, not marked in stats), what I call 'flagrantly forced errors'... the kind of ball guy had no chance getting back in play but got a decent racquet on

But nobody marks 'flagrant forced error', but they do mark 'service winner'. They used to mark 'flagrant forced errors' as 'winners' on judgement... that's gone the way of the dodo, but 'service winners' has remained. Which is ok since serve is a uniquely powerful shot, but it leaves an asymmetry in stats taking across different areas of the game

Very rarely, you'll see a guy get an unreturnable serve almost back... maybe he skies it and it lands a foot inside his court. I'll usually exclude those from service winners too. If serve being completely unreturnable is contingent on returner moving around or standing in unorthodox position (e.g. inside-court or particularly wide), I'll exclude those too

I tend not to mark service winners to balls that are hit forward at least

I try to minimize number of service winners I give behind logic of if guy got racquet on ball, it was conceivably returnable (whether he got close to doing so or not)

The alternative is to mark it based on how close returner got to returning ball... but that might be based on returners shot or the serve itself. I want to keep it about the quality of the serve alone... factoring in returners effort opens up a degree of subjectivity that's too much for my liking and I prefer leaving those in forced error, with obvious understanding that some FEs are more forced than others

How do you do it?
 
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WCT

Semi-Pro
To me, a service winner is

- completely unreturnable, but returner got a reasonable racquet on ball
- returner got nowhere near to returning it

If returner just nicks the ball - the kind of thing you probably wouldn't notice without audio - I'll mark that a non-clean ace

I don't like the idea of service winners because it doesn't correspond to anything in play
- aces correspond to winners
- non-clean aces to non-clean winners (both very rare)
- Return FEs/UEs to FEs/UEs

.... what's the 'service winner' equivalent to something in play? Informally (as in, not marked in stats), what I call 'flagrantly forced errors'... the kind of ball guy had no chance getting back in play but got a decent racquet on

But nobody marks 'flagrant forced error', but they do mark 'service winner'. They used to mark 'flagrant forced errors' as 'winners' on judgement... that's gone the way of the dodo, but 'service winners' has remained. Which is ok since serve is a uniquely powerful shot, but it leaves an asymmetry in stats taking across different areas of the game

Very rarely, you'll see a guy get an unreturnable serve almost back... maybe he skies it and it lands a foot inside his court. I'll usually exclude those from service winners too. If serve being completely unreturnable is contingent on returner moving around or standing in unorthodox position (e.g. inside-court or particularly wide), I'll exclude those too

I tend not to mark service winners to balls that are hit forward at least

I try to minimize number of service winners I give behind logic of if guy got racquet on ball, it was conceivably returnable (whether he got close to doing so or not)

The alternative is to mark it based on how close returner got to returning ball... but that might be based on returners shot or the serve itself. I want to keep it about the quality of the serve alone... factoring in returners effort opens up a degree of subjectivity that's too much for my liking and I prefer leaving those in forced error, with obvious understanding that some FEs are more forced than others

How do you do it?

Your detailed response shows you gave this more thought than I have. Makes sense, though. Yeah, you could get a good piece of what I would see as a winner without being an ace. I've seen returners hit it fairly solidly, but the return goes almost sideways. The serve beat them so badly, while not an ace, the return is nowhere near being in play.

Myself, I never kept any sort of stat for them. I only kept aces and unreturned serves and the aces were included in the latter. Also, if the racquet clearly touched the ball, even slightly, I didn't count it as an ace.

When I have kept unforced error stats, rarely have I used it on serves. Never on a 1st serve. Sometimes on 2nd serves, but the serve had to be pretty weak. In general, I think I'm very lenient, perhaps too much so, with the stat. If the player is run or stretched at all, I don't tend to count it as unforced.
 
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