Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Agassi, Wimbledon quarter-final, 1993


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 in the Wimbledon quarter-final, 1993 on grass

Sampras would go onto win his first title at the event, beating Jim Courier in the final. Agassi had been the defending champion

Sampras won 146 points, Agassi 129

Sampras serve-volleyed off all serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (79/125) 63%
- 1st serve points won (64/79) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (20/46) 43%
- Aces 22, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (52/125) 42%

- 1st serve percentage (83/150) 55%
- 1st serve points won (61/83) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (27/67) 40%
- Aces 7
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (34/150) 23%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 51%
- to BH 47%
- to Body 2%

Agassi served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 9%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 109 (39 FH, 70 BH), including 5 runaround FHs & 2 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH), a runaround FH
- 27 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (7 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach attempt
- 16 Forced (9 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (109/143) 76%

Agassi made...
- 67 (33 FH, 34 BH)
- 7 Winners (4 FH, 3 BH)
- 29 Errors, all forced...
- 29 Forced (13 FH, 16 BH)
- Return Rate (67/119) 56%

Break Points
Sampras 6/15 (10 games)
Agassi 4/11 (6 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 33 (9 FH, 5 BH, 11 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV, 3 OH)
Agassi 39 (18 FH, 12 BH, 5 FHV, 4 BHV)

Sampras had 17 from serve-volley points
- 14 first 'volleys' (7 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH, 2 FH at net)
- 2 second volleys (2 FHV)
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- FHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 1 runaround dtl return, 1 inside-out, 1 lob and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 2 cc passes, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out slice at net and 1 longline/cc

Agassi had 7 returns (4 FH, 3 BH), all passes
- FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in/cc
- BHs - 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in

- regular FH passes - 3 cc, 1 inside-out/dt, 1 longline and 1 running-down-drop-volley dtl at net
- regular FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl/inside-out, 3 inside-out and 2 inside-in/cc
- regular BH passes - 3 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 lob
- regular BHs - 1 inside-out/dtl and 1 net chord dribbler

- 5 from serve-volley points - all first volleys (4 FHV, 1 BHV)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 50
- 31 Unforced (17 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV)... with 1 BH at net
- 19 Forced (6 FH, 6 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 3 BH1/2V)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-volley at net & BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

Agassi 54
- 31 Unforced (13 FH, 17 BH, 1 FHV)... with 1 BH pass attempt
- 23 Forced (7 FH, 16 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index

(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...
- 72/112 (64%) at net, including...
- 61/96 (64%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 41/56 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 20/40 (50%) off 2nd serve
- 2/2 return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back

Agassi was...
- 22/29 (76%) at net, including...
- 9/10 (90%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 retreated

Match Report
A disappointing match by the standards of the two players. With Sampras serve-volleying 100% and Agassi staying back, action is two fold - and neither are great. The Sampras serve-volley vs Agassi return/pass battle is mundane, while the baseline tussles springing out of Agassi's service games mostly feature Sampras employing a passive, give-Agassi-room-to-hang-himself strategy (which actually works for a couple sets)

Both players had health issues. Agassi was suffering from a wrist problem that needed surgery at end of season. He's playing with a modified service motion and his serve is average at best. Sampras had a shoulder problem coming into the event and serves fairly conservatively. He tends to the arm occasionally and has it treated over a couple changeovers in 5th set. Early on, he's dawdling between points in a way I don't recall seeing him from and gets a well earned time violation warning. Agassi looks a bit above mobile playing weight too

Sampras' Serve Games - Strategy & Execution
Meat and potatoes serve-volleying from Sampras. What are some of the ways that that can lead to exceptionally high quality play or lively action?

- Sampras serving exceptionally well and being untouchable on serve. Serving 2 'first' serves'. He would go onto do something along these lines in the semi and especially the final. Not here. By his standard, below par from Pete (as in, you can probably tell the second serves from the firsts - and the seconds are very much seconds. Even the odd first serve is relatively returnable. That leaves room for the possibility of...

- Agassi returning exceptionally well and taking Sampras' return to the cleaners, blasting return winners and giving him a regular stream of returns to the feet. That doesn't happen. 7 return winners is on low side for 5 sets and Sampras doesn't get many low volleys. Typical first volley for Pete is regulation stuff above net net, maybe a touch more firmly hit than normal returners norm

- Outstanding volleying by Sampras - either dispatching volleys above net or regularly putting in play balls to his feet. That doesn't happen. He puts away the easy volleys - 14/17 serve-volley point winners are first volleys - and doesn't get enough volleys to his feet to have to deal with. Just 7 forecourt FEs for Pete... because he doesn't face many that would be marked FE had he missed, not because he makes a huge load

To be clear, action is still good. Even a below-from-personal-par Sampras' serve is above normal standard, as 22 aces/1 service winner attest to. Agassi's returning is within range of a quality needed to get the odd break, which is how matches against big servers on grass are won. Sampras is efficient on the volley - 8 UEs in 5 sets is not high - and he volleys well away from Agassi on top of the winners

its also a bit disappointing by standards of potential for the two players. Its the kind of action you watch and don't remember much of couple months later. Neither move particularly well either... Agassi struggles to reach volleys not fully punched through and not in corners and Sampras doesn't cover the net for second volleys like a blanket


Hall of Fame
Agassi Serve Games - Strategy & Execution
What is Agassi's holding strategy? outplaying Sampras from the baseline with heavy hitting?

His serve isn't strong enough to give him much advantage starting rallies, and even then, he manages just 55% first serves in (Sampras serving much harder has 63%). I'd estimate 20% of his first serves would qualify as unforceful. Sampras' second serve is stronger. Agassi throws in the very rare - 2 or 3 forceful second serves

That is is humongous handicap on the serve shot alone... Agassi would need to return fantastically or/and play fantastically in baseline rallies to give himself equal prospects of holding his serve as Sampras has. As indicated earlier, he doesn't do the first and he can't even do the second

Baseline UEs - Sampras 24, Agassi 30. Agassi would need something like half his number to remain in confident clear on service games

Sampras plays a smart, if passive, return game. He chips and dinks and slice and blocks returns in play gently. Much of his baseline rallying is of the same type of shots. Basically, inviting Agassi to finish points with big groundstrokes... and Agassi can't far too often. A huge load of Agassi's UEs are attacking third ball groundies that are there for the shot. Just bad play from the defending champion

Sampras' returning is also a dare to serve-volley. Agassi turns to it some in third set and proves very successful, winning 9/10 such points. Sampras doesn't return any differently on these points... he seems to be trust Agassi mucking up on the volley. Unlike off the ground, Agassi doesn't. Just the 1 volley error and 22/29 points won at net

Generally, Agassi is better baseliner than Sampras, which coupled with his disinclination to come forward makes staying back in rallies understandable. In this match, he's not necessarily better baseliner due to being overly error prone. He's not getting cheap points with the serve (just 23% unreturned rate). And but for brief periods, he doesn't come into net much

From Sampras' point of view, getting breaks by doing little more than junking balls in play is a monumental gift, down to Agassi's poor attacking efficiency off the ground and disinclination to risk coming forward to finish points... by far more discredit to Agassi than credit Sampras for it

Baseline play changes in fifth set, when Sampras takes to actually hitting balls and attacking returns. When he wins a couple of points late in the set with chip-charge returns, it seems like he could have done this at any time in the match instead of gently chipping returns in play

For match as a whole, Sampras occasionally hits out with FHs, especially cc's on the run to damaging extent. He's less than good from the back too and finishes with 17 FH UEs, joint match high with Agassi's BH. Surprisingly, its Sampras' BH that proves the most secure shot, with just 7 UEs. Partially due to his doing almost nothing with the shot but slicing and dinking but more Agassi's inability to hit BH cc's with consistency. In the final, Jim Courier would do a much better job hammering down Pete's BH

Match Progression - Sets 1 & 2
Agassi opens the match with a double fault, which is strangely appropriate. Despite serving below average of strength, his first serve in count for first two sets is 26/58 at 44.8%

He's broken in game 3, having made 1/8 first serves. Couple of good winners from Sampras but Agassi saves two break points. From deuce, he's slow to move to a BH that he nets and double faults. He's broken again next game, an 8 point one where he misses 4 third ball groundstrokes, all of them regulation shots

He manages to hold the next service game because Sampras misses a regulation BHV on break point. Sampras meanwhile loses 4 points in holding his 4 service games. He's given a time violation warning and Agassi hits one stunning, running FH cc pass... otherwise, no problems for Pete

Agassi starts returning better in the second and punishes Pete's second serves, but his woes on serve continue: Low percentage and frequent UEs off the ground (often the third ball). Sampras does little more than junk, slice, dink and loop balls (including the return)

First break comes to 30 and has 3 Agassi UEs in it. Second starts with a double but Pete secures it with vigour, striking 3 winners - a net-to-net FHV (almost an OH), a BH cc pass and a BH inside-out slice from just past service line - to wrap up

After 2 sets, Agassi has 17 UEs to Sampras 10

Sets 3 & 4
Agassi breaks to go up 2-0 to start the third. He opens the game he breaks in with a pair of FH return winners. Sampras adds BHV and BH at net UEs to finish it

There isn't a drastic change after that though. Sampras his remaining 3 games for loss to 2 points. Agassi meanwhile loses 9 points in 4 holds, including a deuce game

Agassi does start to adjust. For one thing, he gets 25/32 first serves in and two, serve-volleys not infrequently (6 times, winning 5). Sampras' almost completely passive returning is an open invitation to do so. From the back though, he remains error prone, with Sampras playing very passively

4th set is the only one Agassi has the better of. His returns regularly threaten Sampras and he bosses baseline play to the tune that Sampras finally starts hitting firmly more often. It doesn't help much and Agassi maintains command from the back. Though ceases serve-volleying, Sampras makes a hash on the return. Agassi has 9/19 unreturned serves for the set, though his serve remains average

Agassi breaks to open the set and again, both players have a hand in it. Agassi opens with a pair of passing winners before Sampras throws in a double fault. Sampras misses a low-ish BHV on third break point... not too easy but a UE

Agassi breaks again to end the set. Another double from Pete brings up break/set point and on it, he hits a perfect BH inside-out pass

Set 5
Prospects going into the 5th look about even. Sampras has had much the better of play (more due to Agassi playing poorly than Sampras playing well, but still) for the match on one hand, while on the other, Agassi had finally commanded a set

The fifth set indicates what the match had been missing up to now. Sampras plays normal, firm hitting baseline tennis. He's roughly Agassi's equal at it. Sampras returns almost everything. Its no more difficult now then it had been previous set

There are 3 breaks in succession, leaving Sampras up 1. First he breaks in a throwback game with Agassi missing 3 third balls and double faulting. Agassi breaks back with strong passes and returns before Pete double faults on break point. Some fine rallies (thanks to Sampras not junking) in the third game where Sampras breaks to 15, with hard hit shots, a FH lob winner and a couple of manufactured net trips

Little trouble holding serve thereafter for Pete, though he puts Agassi through the hoop again in a tough 14 point hold with 2 break points in it. Pete serves out to love with 4 unreturned serves, the first 3 aces

Summing up, a bland and not very good match. Sampras serves decently but less than his norm and volleys efficiently enough against less than challenging returning
The most eye catching feature of play is Sampras very passive returning and baseline play, leaving Agassi to make or break outcome in baseline rallies
For 2 sets, Agassi 'breaks' it... poor play from him to lose his serve repeatedly
For 1 set, Agassi comes to net to manage to hold and for 1 set, Sampras can't make not difficult returns
When Sampras hits groundstrokes and looks to exploit the weak Agassi serve in the decider, he's far and away the stronger player

Stats for pair's '99 final -
Stats for semi between Sampras and Boris Becker -
Stats for final between Sampras and Jim Courier -