Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Hewitt, Queens Club semi-final, 1999

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Lleyton Hewitt 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the Queens Club semi-final, 1999 on grass

Sampras would go onto beat Tim Henman in the final. Hewitt was 18 years old

Sampras won 106 points, Hewitt 100

Sampras serve-volleyed off all his serves


(Note: I'm missing 2 points - 1 service point by each player, both won by the server)


Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (54/99) 55%
- 1st serve points won (45/54) 83%
- 2nd serve points won (22/45) 49%
- Aces 12 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 9
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/99) 38%

Hewitt...
- 1st serve percentage (49/105) 47%
- 1st serve points won (36/49) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (31/56) 55%
- Aces 5
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/105) 26%


Serve Pattern
Sampras served...
- to FH 49%
- to BH 49%
- to Body 2%

Hewitt served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 61%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 73 (23 FH, 50 BH), including 4 runaround FHs and 3 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (2 FH, 6 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 14 Forced (8 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (73/100) 73%

Hewitt made...
- 52 (26 FH, 26 BH)
- 6 Winners (5 FH, 1 BH)
- 26 Errors, all forced...
- 26 Forced (15 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (52/90) 58%

Break Points
Sampras 2/9 (4 games)
Hewitt 2/8 (5 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 24 (3 FH, 2 BH, 8 FHV, 6 BHV, 5 OH)
Hewitt 22 (9 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)

Sampras had 16 from serve-volley points
- 8 first volleys (4 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 7 second volleys (4 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- 3 FHs - 2 dtl and 1 longline/inside-in return
- 2 BHs - 1 dtl and 1 running-down-drop-volley cc at net

Hewitt's had 16 passes, including 6 returns
- non-return FH passes - 1 cc and 2 dtl
- non-return BH passes - 5 cc (1 at net), 1 dtl and 1 dtl/inside-out
- FH returns - 1 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BH return - 1 cc

- non-pass groundstrokes - 1 FH inside-out , 1 BH cc and 1 BH dtl
- 1 FHV was a swinging shot from behind the baseline and not a net point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Sampras 41
- 16 Unforced (11 FH, 4 BH, 1 BHV)
- 25 Forced (9 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV, 4 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.8

Hewitt 37
- 10 Unforced (3 FH, 7 BH)
- 27 Forced (16 FH, 11 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44

(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...
- 63/93 (68%) at net, including...
- 51/78 (65%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 34/43 (79%) off 1st serve and...
- 21/35 (60%) off 2nd serve
--
- 2/3 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Hewitt was...
- 11/14 (79%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 2nd serve

Match Report
A close match, with Sampras serve-volleying all the time and Hewitt staying back.

The Sampras serve games are high quality.... great serve-volleying vs great returning and passing, but the Hewitt serve games are relatively low quality, with ordinary second serves, weak returns and passive, error prone rallies

For most of the match, Hewitt is winning. He breaks in the third game and holds serve easily for the set. Second set is tough and both have chances on return (Sampras more). It ends with Sampras breaking

Hewitt breaks to start the third and is broken back mid-way through the set in one of the few good return games Sampras plays. He continues to push Sampras' serve for the rest of the match - even has a break point, which had he won would have left him serving for the match - only for Sampras to hit the corner with a risky, fast, second serve in the corner that forces an error

Playing Dynamics
The strengths and weaknesses of the two players complement one another nicely

Sampras' strength is the serve and volley. Hewitt's are the return and passing shot.... and both pairs are top notch.

Hewitt launches into second serve returns - hitting winners, forcing errors or presenting difficult first volleys or half-volleys for Pete. And his ability to get Sampras' bigger first serves in play is also very good. The reason Sampras has no service winners is because Hewitt gets too much racquet on balls that would probably be service winners against most anyone else (and some, aces)
. And 11 Sampras FEs in the forecourt tell the tale of the quality of Hewitt's returns and passes

But Sampras is up to the task in the forecourt.... he volleys excellently. The difficult low or/and powerfully struck balls he gets back more often than not. Doesn't miss easy ones (just the 1 volleying UE). Puts away winners to strongly struck, net high balls that usually don't get such treatment. And doesn't miss easy ones (with the exception of a OH he's a little too flashy in trying to dunk smash, only for Hewitt to somehow OH retrieve lob it back.... a break point for Sampras and Hewitt would go onto hold). His ability to get back in play low balls and half-volleys are particularly impressive

Sampras' weaknesses are return, groundstrokes and movement. Hewitt's are the second serve.... and probably decisively, his groundstrokes are, if not a weakness, not strong enough for him to be confident of continuously seeing of Sampras

Though the serve isn't big, Hewitt places his first serve well - and Sampras has trouble handling it. But the Aussie's second serve is slow, often short and predictably placed near Sampras' body on the BH side. A strong returner could have feasted off it (and Hewitt serves at a low 47%)…. Hewitt himself I imagine would have loved to return his own second serve

Sampras though, pokes, slices and pushes at them - gently putting them back in play (or not). Next to no aggressive intent shown on the return by Sampras - and at times (especially the first set), he can't even get them in play (8 unforced return errors, and a few of the 14 forced are also makeable)

Next, they get into a rally. First of all, Sampras doesn't seem to want to move side to side. Its that way from the start (he's a bit slow moving forward even), but he takes it up a notch more after slipping at the start of the third set. Coupled with passive groundstrokes (note UEFI 43.8) and high error rate (15 groundstrokes. Hewitt has 10)…. he looks as motivated at times as a Tomic or Kyrgios.

Hewitt looks to keep things BH-BH, but his groundies aren't great either. Doesn't have great power, depth or angles... and we get some mild who-blinks-first type rallies, most uncharacteristic on grass. Sampras even pushes short balls back cc or loops them high over the net. Hewitt does look to change to dtl after a few cc exchanges - the classic Sampras running FH trap - and these work because a) Sampras' is moving slowly and b) Sampras' timing is all off

Where weakness' in Hewitt's ground game show up more though is the difficulty he has on defence. His movement are first class - he flows like water on the run and when bending to hit low groundies - but anything moderately forceful troubles him. Normal of power but deep balls trouble him unduly. Sampras is able to break back in third set hitting such shots (though in that game, Sampras does actually play well). And given he's counting on groundies to hold, Hewitt isn't consistent enough. With 10 UEs, he doing better than Sampras, but not well enough to give confidence that he can keep on holding for as long as needed

Summing up, a high quality clash on Sampras' service games, pretty low on Hewitt's - but players are well matched in both - and little difference in the end. With Sampras holding back a lot on return and groundstrokes, just doing enough to creep over the line. Great fearless, gutsty stuff from the young Hewitt
 
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Heuristic

Hall of Fame
So how much does your stat compilation differ from that of ultimate tennis statistics.com? Is there any point breaking down these games again?
 
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