Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Ivanisevic, Grand Slam Cup semi-final, 1994


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Goran Ivanisevic 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-8 in the Grand Slam Cup semi-final, 1994 on carpet in Munich, Germany

Sampras would go onto lose the final to Magnus Larsson. Ivanisevic would win the title the following year. The two had contested the Wimbledon final earlier in the year, with Sampras winning

Sampras won 190 points, Ivanisevic 170

Sampras serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve and majority of seconds. Ivanisevic serve-volleyed off most first serves and minority of time off seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (97/172) 56%
- 1st serve points won (79/97) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (47/75) 63%
- Aces 29 (3 second serves, 1 not clean), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 11
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (78/172) 45%

- 1st serve percentage (103/188) 55%
- 1st serve points won (79/103) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (45/85) 53%
- Aces 41 (4 second serves)
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (80/188) 43%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 61%
- to Body 2%

Ivanisevic served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 62%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 101 (26 FH, 75 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 5 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 39 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 35 Forced (8 FH, 27 BH)
- Return Rate (101/181) 56%

Ivanisevic made...
- 83 (25 FH, 58 BH)
- 7 Winners (1 FH, 6 BH)
- 47 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 46 Forced (10 FH, 36 BH)
- Return Rate (83/161) 52%

Break Points
Sampras 4/16 (9 games)
Ivanisevic 2/7 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 42 (5 FH, 7 BH, 9 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 10 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 9 OH)
Ivanisevic 31 (10 FH, 7 BH, 6 FHV, 5 BHV, 3 OH)

Sampras had 26 from serve-volley points
- 16 first 'volleys' (6 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 3 OH, 2 BH at net)
- 10 second volley (2 FHV, 4 BHV, 4 OH)

- 2 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 BHV)

- FH passes - 1 cc, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 longline
- BHs passes - 2 cc returns and 1 dtl (1 return)
- regular FH - 1 cc
- regular BH - 1 net chord dribbler

Ivanisevic had 13 from serve-volley points
- 7 first volleys (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
- 6 second volleys (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH)

- FH passes - 2 cc (1 at net), 1 dtl return and 1 inside-in
- BH passes - 1 cc, 3 inside-out returns and 2 inside-in returns
- regular FHs - 2 cc (1 at net), 1 cc/inside-in at net, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out
- regular BH - 1 inside-in return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 48
- 21 Unforced (8 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV)... with 1 BH at net
- 27 Forced (4 FH, 12 BH, 3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)... with 1 FH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.0

Ivanisevic 63
- 35 Unforced (9 FH, 7 BH, 11 FHV, 8 BHV)... with 1 FH at net & 2 BH at net
- 28 Forced (10 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54

(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...
- 101/133 (76%) at net, including...
- 88/117 (75%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 51/68 (75%) off 1st serve and...
- 37/49 (76%) off 2nd serve
- 3/5 (60%) return-approaching
- 0/1 retreated

Ivanisevic was...
- 59/95 (62%) at net, including...
- 47/79 (59%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 34/50 (68%) off 1st serve and...
- 13/29 (45%) off 2nd serve
- 0/2 retreated

Match Report
Epic scoreline aside, this is not a very good match and Goran's showing is decidedly sloppy. Sampras is pretty solid - a double faults yips in first set aside. Match stays close - at least, on level of scoreline - because of overwhelming serve of Goran's on a fast court. Not that Sampras' serve is far behind, but he showcases skills outside it to. Goran serve-bots

Both players with large load of unreturned serves is main course of play. Other than unreturned serves and double faults, Sampras still wins 48/83 service points or 58%. Goran can manage just 44/101 or 44%, his serve leaves him in complete command off a very large chunk of those points from third ball

Goran's numbers on the volley are 11 winners, 19 UEs (excluding 3 OH winners and 3 groundstroke at net errors). That would be a terrible number at best of times but in light of the kind of volleys he gets - so many balls comfortably over net at average pace, the kind serve-volleyers look for when coming - its trebly so. Bulk of his 62% net points and 59% serve-volleying points won are due to unreturned serve. He's even a poor 45% second serve-volleying (Sampras is 76%)... and his second serve is huge, like a normal players good first serve

Sampras serve-volleys off all but 1 first serve (the only one he doesn't gets whacked for a return winner - go figure) and 80% of the time off second serves. Goran does so 76% of the time off first serves and 39% off seconds. Both serves are very strong, including second serves. Overwhelming bulk of second serves that server stays back on would (and have) been marked forced error when return hasn't come back, and many are flagrantly forcefully. The 2 players share 7 second serve aces and from Goran in particular, many near unretunrable ones besides

Sampras is quite clearly the better player, statistically and otherwise. He has set point in first set with Goran serving and a clear look at a FH winner that he misses, before going on to lose the set. Commands the next 2 sets. Goran holds about even in the fourth and plays a very good tiebreak to push it to five. And Sampras has all the chances in the 5th before closing it out

Sampras' 4/16 (9 games) break point numbers, compared to Goran's 2/7 (3 games) along with winning 20 more points while serving 16 less of them gets to his comfortable superiority. He leads both first serve points won (81% to 77%) and 2nd serve ones (63% to 53%), with first in count a wash (Sampras +1%)
Last edited:


Hall of Fame
Serve, Return, Serve-Volley & Baseline Play
Typical big serving from both players, Goran stronger off both serves, particularly the seconds

He serves to win the point with the serve, essentially looking for an unreturned serve. Not necessarily with serve-volley support. Sampras obviously has his share of unreturnables too, but some portion of unreturned are due to his serve-volleying. Pete's second serves are a good way to set up his volley - like Stefan Edberg's normal first serves - Goran's look like they're intended to simply end the point

Off first serve, Goran serving an ace/service winner 36% off the time, Pete 29% is reasonable indicator of unreturnability
Stand out stat might be Goran with just 7 double faults. The way he serves, I wouldn't have been surprised to see 15-20. Pete serves more conservatively (though still hard by any normal standard), and still doubles 4 more times while serving 10 fewer times

Some, nothing-to-lose return-approaching from Pete. He wins 3/5 so doing. Couple are normal returns against first serves and when he sees Goran hasn't come in behind the serve, makes a dash to net. Its a good play. What does he have to lose? Getting a racquet on the serves represents a decent effort, putting it in play a good one... might as well dash to net, knowing Goran's erratic on the pass

Goran's returns leave Pete with regulation first volleys and Pete's efficient enough at dealing with them. 9 forecourt UEs isn't much. He doesn't have to make a difficult volley often. Goran tends to return strongly in bundles. Most match, just regulation stuff for which he'd need Pete to muck up to win points off. Once in awhile, including in tiebreak, a few strong ones over short time. If he could lock down his service games, it'd be a fine strategy

Pete returns the same way, facing a tougher serve. And he is able to count on Goran mucking up easy volleys to make headway towards a break

Nutshell, Goran serves stronger, so Pete must be returning a bit better for his returns to be about as effective as Goran's. On the immediate aftermath, huge advantage Sampras who volleys precisely. Goran does not

Baseline play isn't bad. Mostly on Goran's serve, which means he has sizable initiative to start the rally. Neither player is overly eager to end points early from the back (on fast carpet, Pete often tends to be). Pete with 12 UEs, Goran 13 and Goran winning more points by forcing errors and hitting winners or coming to net to finish represents a win for Goran

To be clear, given bulk favourable starting positions, he'd be expected to come out ahead more often than not. So doing reflects his not messing up with UEs, not playing unduly well

That makes him much better from the back than on the volley which isn't necessarily saying much, but as is, he plays decently off the ground. Excluding aces and double faults, he's 28/45 staying back of second serves or 62%. Serve-volleying, he's just winning 45% by contrast. Sampras' figures are 76% serve-volleying and 58% staying back (with small 12 times on the latter)

No seeming rhyme or reason to Goran's choice to serve-volley or not of either serve. He does seem better of doing so off first serve and not second

Match Progression
Terrible game by Pete to open the match with 2 double faults and 2 UEs in forecourt. He gains break back in a game half due to his good shots, half Goran faltering. Sampras has 2 break and set points at 5-4. One's aced away but he has control of second from the back but misses a FH winner attempt that was well there for the shot

Goran throws in a great game - 2 return pass winners and forcing a FH1/2V error - to break again and go on to take the set

Goran starts staying back more off first serves. Why? It'd been successful for him in first set. He continues to struggle in forecourt. Is broken to love and climbs out of a 0-40 hold later to at least make Pete serve it out

Sampras tightens up his volleys in set 3. He'd been prone to looseness on it before, though far less than Goran. Poor game by Goran to give up break but this time, Pete has to work to close. He's down 0-40 serving for the set from powerful returns and passes from Goran but serves his way through

Fourth set is the best of the bunch and the only genuinely good one of the match. Goran gets decent power or wide returns off relatively regularly but Pete volleys surely. Goran's more stable at net too. Down break point, losing which would leave Pete serving for match, Goran comes out with a second serve ace.

Some great shots in tiebreak from both players. Goran finds some of his best returns - striking a winner and winning points after forcing first half-volleys. Set point is odd. Having hammered his way to it, Goran serves a gentle (for him) second serve and plays a gentle first groundstroke. Pete though, misses a wild FH

Fifth set goes on for 18 games. Goran has virtually no chances to break, while Pete stretches him out a couple of games. Match ends the way it began with a terrible game, this time by Goran misses 3 easy to very easy volleys (1 of them is very close to line - no telling if its in or out, but its called out) to be broken to love

Summing up, lot of big serving and mostly serve-volleying behind it, especially from Sampras. Neither player can get much done with the return. Goran is particularly poor on the volley and far too many easy volleys, Sampras is much more secure. Given scoreline, quite a comfortable win for Sampras

Stats for final between Sampras and Magnus Larsson - Match Stats/Report - Larsson vs Sampras, Grand Slam Cup final, 1994 | Talk Tennis (
Stats for the pair's Wimbledon final - Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Ivanisevic, Wimbledon final 1994 | Talk Tennis (